McCaskill: Rosenstein said he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his memo

Sen. McCaskill clarifies Comey firing timeline
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Sen. McCaskill clarifies Comey firing timeline 01:06

Story highlights

  • McCaskill said, "the facts speak for themselves"
  • The WH initially cited Rosenstein's memo as the reason to fire Comey

Washington (CNN)Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew President Donald Trump was going to fire FBI Director James Comey before he wrote a memo recommending Trump do that.

Rosenstein gave a classified briefing for the full Senate in private on Thursday afternoon more than a week after Trump fired Comey and a day after he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel for all things related to Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election.
Because it was a closed briefing, it's unclear exactly how Rosenstein described how he knew Trump would fire Comey. But Sens. Tom Carper and Dick Durbin, both Democrats, and Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, also confirmed similar details revealed during the briefing.
"(Rosenstein) did acknowledge that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo," McCaskill said. "He knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing his memo," she said again.
McCaskill said "the facts speak for themselves" on that matter and declined to comment further, saying she needed more facts, documents and sworn testimony.
Rosenstein authored a memo criticizing Comey at length for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email practices as secretary of state. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited this memo in a letter to Trump recommending he fire Comey. Trump attached both documents to his letter informing Comey of his removal.
The White House initially cited Rosenstein's recommendation to explain Comey's ouster during an ongoing investigation into potential collusion between Trump's associates and Russia.
Trump later said in an interview with NBC News last week that he had decided to fire Comey "regardless of the recommendation" from the Justice Department.