Andrew McCabe memo recalls conversation with Rod Rosenstein in which the deputy attorney general reportedly revealed Trump wanted him to mention Russia in statement on James Comey's firing

Alex Wong/Getty ImagesFormer acting FBI director Andrew McCabe.
  • Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe documented a conversation with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, in which Rosenstein reportedly indicated President Donald Trump wanted him to mention Russia in a statement on the firing of then-FBI director James Comey.
  • Rosenstein pointed to Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as the reasoning for Comey’s dismissal in May 2017.
  • According to a New York Times report published Wednesday, McCabe wrote a memo expressing concern that Rosenstein could have provided cover to Trump by not mentioning Russia in the statement on Comey’s firing
  • It was not immediately clear what Trump reportedly wanted Rosenstein to say about Russia in the statement that was used to justify Comey’s firing – but afterward, Trump claimed that Comey told him he was not personally under investigation in the Russia probe.
  • The circumstances surrounding these events are part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe was concerned about remarks Rod Rosenstein reportedly made regarding the justification for James Comey’s firing as director of the FBI.

After Comey was dismissed in May 2017, Rosenstein revealed that President Donald Trump wanted him to mention Russia in the statement outlining reasons for Comey’s firing, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

According to the newspaper, McCabe thought Rosenstein’s comment suggested that he gave cover to Trump by not mentioning Russia in the statement on Comey. McCabe wrote a memo documenting the conversation.

Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation was cited as the official reason for his termination.

The circumstances surrounding these events are part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which has been ongoing since Mueller was appointed, shortly after Comey was fired. Among other things, Mueller’s team is looking into whether Trump obstructed justice at any point since taking office.

It was not immediately clear what Trump reportedly wanted Rosenstein to say about Russia in that Comey statement. But Trump, in his letter to Comey, thanked him for saying he was not under investigation in the Russia probe.

Trump would mention Russia several more times in later conversations about Comey’s firing, including during an NBC News interview and during a closed-door Oval Office meeting with some Russian diplomats..

McCabe, who was fired in March amid an internal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General, hinted that he was dismissed “because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”

“This has to be seen in the larger context,” McCabe said in a statement in March. “And I firmly believe that this is an ongoing effort to undermine my credibility because of the work that I did on the Russia case, because of the investigations that I oversaw and impacted that target this administration.”

“They have every reason to believe that I could end up being a significant witness in whatever the special counsel comes up with,” McCabe said. “And so they are trying to create this counter-narrative that I am not someone who can be believed or trusted.”

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