Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has accepted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s invitation to brief the Senate about President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, McConnell’s office said Monday.
The briefing, which McConnell’s office says will be classified, will take place Thursday, May 18 at 2:30 PM.
Rosenstein, a longtime Department of Justice employee who is currently the top official overseeing any Russia investigations after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, found himself in the midst of the Comey controversy last week after President Trump cited his recommendations, which were primarily based on the way the former FBI Director handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server, as his rationalization for ousting him. Critics on both sides of the aisle were dismayed at the historic firing, and Democrats said that Rosenstein’s recommendations were a facade for a dismissal based on the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.
Trump ultimately said he was going to fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein’s recommendations. The Washington Post also reported that Rosenstein was so angry over being cited as the reason for the firing that he threatened to resign from his post, but the Department of Justice declined to comment.
McConnell’s invitation comes after Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer suggested the day after Comey’s firing that he should invite Chamber Sessions and Rosenstein to hold separate closed and if necessary, classified, briefings with the entire Senate.
Schumer said he was “pleased” with the recent developments, and said that the Senators should emphasize the need for a special prosecutor in addition to determining what transpired.
“I hope that Senators from both sides of the aisle will use this opportunity to seek the full truth regarding Director Comey’s firing, to press the Deputy Attorney General to make way for a special prosecutor, and to ensure the administration will preserve and make public any audio recordings of conversations between the President and the former director,” he said.