WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew James B. Comey was about to be fired before writing his scathing memo to President Donald Trump about the FBI director, senators said Thursday.
Rosenstein was briefing senators at a closed-door meeting at the Capitol in the aftermath of Comey's firing and his own appointment of a special counsel to probe the Trump campaign's possible connection with Russian interference in the 2016 election.
"He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo," Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told reporters after emerging from the session.
"He knew the day before," said Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat. "He learned on May 8."
However, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida did not come to the same conclusion.
"I'm not sure he addressed that with a level of clarity," Rubio said.
As Robert Mueller takes over the Russia probe, some senators have warned that the congressional panels investigating Russia will lose influence.
"The shock to the body is this is now considered a criminal investigation," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who had opposed naming a special counsel. "And Congress' ability to conduct an investigation of all things Russia is severely limited. I think a lot of members wanted the special counsel to be appointed but don't understand you're pretty well knocked out of the game."
©2017 Tribune Co.