Trump administration officials have flatly denied two key allegations surrounding the James Comey firing – that the decision came after he asked for more resources for the FBI’s Russia probe, and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later threatened to resign – after the claims gained traction among Trump critics.
The denials aren’t attracting anywhere near the media attention of the original allegations.
The latest came from Rosenstein himself. The Washington Post initially reported Wednesday night that the senior Justice official threatened to resign after reports began painting him as the primary “mover of the decision” to sack Comey, given his scathing memo condemning the ex-FBI director’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.
But aside from White House and DOJ denials, Rosenstein himself told Sinclair Broadcast Group reporter Michelle Macaluso he didn’t threaten to quit and would not be doing so.
“No, I’m not quitting,” he said.
President Trump also has since shifted the administration’s account of what led to the firing, telling NBC News that he would have fired Comey regardless of any recommendation, after officials pointed to Rosenstein’s memo as the driving force.
Meanwhile, The New York Times and other outlets reported in the wake of the Comey ouster that he had recently asked the DOJ for more resources in the bureau’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Fox News also was told that Comey had asked for more resources – however, sources said he discussed that issue with lawmakers. A Justice spokeswoman stressed that Comey never asked Rosenstein himself for more money or resources for the Russia investigation.
The denial got high-level backup on Thursday, when Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe also denied the reports at a Senate hearing.
McCabe said he thinks the probe is “adequately resourced” and noted the FBI normally would not ask for more resources for a single investigation.