The White House has said Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions told Trump to fire Comey
“I’m not quitting,” Rosenstein said in an interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group. Asked if he had threatened to quit, Rosenstein said, “no.” The Justice Department has also denied that Rosenstein threatened to quit.
The White House has said President Donald Trump dismissed Comey from his position following the recommendation of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post, citing an unnamed person close to the White House, reported that Rosenstein threatened after officials painted him as a key player pushing for Comey’s firing.
Rosenstein wrote a memo to Sessions recommending Comey be fired for the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server last year, arguing the FBI would be “unlikely to regain public and congressional trust” until Comey was dismissed. Last week, Trump had asked Rosenstein and Sessions to present the case for firing Comey in writing, according to the Post report.
The Trump Administration has pointed to Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation as reasons for his termination, but Democrats (and some Republicans) have questioned Trump’s motives and timing. It came despite Trump’s previous praise for Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation, and amid an ongoing investigation Comey was leading into whether Trump associates had colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 election.