WHAT DID HE TELL THEM?
by Sharon Rondeau
(May 18, 2017) — In a news briefing following the exiting of the U.S. Senate from a briefing by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey, Fox News’s Catherine Herridge reported that senators appears “subdued” and “sober” when commenting on it to reporters.
Herridge said that senators said that Rosenstein reported he knew on May 8 that Comey would be fired, which occurred the next day.
Rosenstein signed a letter dated May 9 citing Comey for what Rosenstein viewed as Comey’s mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email/private server matter in a news conference last July 5.
The administration’s first statement as to why Comey was fired relied on Rosenstein’s letter to Comey, but in a later interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Trump said he had weighed the termination since his inauguration and would have done it anyway.
Democrats have accused Trump of dismissing Comey in the midst of the investigation into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 election and alleged Trump campaign aides’ ties to Russia.
Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III has been appointed to act as “special counsel” over that ongoing investigation. After leaving the FBI in 2013, Mueller joined a private law firm.
At 3:51 p.m. EDT, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) told reporters that Rosenstein had had some notice of Comey’s firing, as Herridge reported.
At 3:53, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said he thought Mueller was a good choice for special counsel.
At 3:54, Sen. John Cornyn said that the briefing was “very important” and that along with Mueller, congressional committees already investigating would continue but seek not to duplicate efforts. “We don’t want to do anything to get in the way,” Cornyn said.
Cornyn said he would like to see an “agreement” to ensure that there was no duplication.
Reporters appeared keenly interested in when Rosenstein knew that Comey would be fired.
Cornyn was himself a candidate for FBI director but withdrew his name on Wednesday.
“Clearly, Russia was very much involved” in attempting to influence the election, Cornyn said.
One reporter asked Cornyn about Trump’s tweet that the Russia campaign-ties allegation is a “witch hunt,” to which Cornyn responded, “The FBI director serves at the pleasure of the president.”
At 3:58, Bret Baier announced that former Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman is the frontrunner for the position. Lieberman reportedly met with Trump and/or his surrogates on Thursday.
Baier said on two occasions in his brief on-air segment with Shepard Smith that despite allegations published in major media this week that Trump attempted to thwart the investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, he was “the same Donald Trump.”
Trump is scheduled to give a joint press conference with Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos late Thursday afternoon. According to CBS’s Mark Knoller, Santos is the 25th foreign leader to meet with Trump since his January 20 inauguration.
In response to Neil Cavuto’s questioning and Mueller’s appointment, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said, “Let these people do the job.”
The joint presser began at 4:08, with Trump beginning with the “drug epidemic.” He said “the wall” will be one way to combat illegal drugs entering the U.S.