Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was seen arriving, with a security detail, at the Senate Intelligence Committee’s secure office spaces this afternoon, according to a report in POLITICO. Sources says Rosenstein requested the meeting with Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA). Both senators abruptly left a televised committee hearing with acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe for what Burr said was a meeting “we can’t push off.”

The seemingly impromptu meeting comes in the wake of the controversial firing of FBI Director James Comey and the deputy AG’s alleged role in that firing.

Both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote memos to President Trump recommending the director’s dismissal on Tuesday, but on Thursday morning, news broke that Rosenstein, a veteran prosecutor, was furious over the White House characterization that he allegedly had prompted the firing, and Rosenstein actually threatened to quit over it.

The day after Comey’s dismissal, on Wednesday, White House officials adjusted their story, saying that Trump’s anger at Comey had, in fact, been building for months but finally reached a boiling point when the FBI director refused to let the White House know what he planned to say during his scheduled Senate testimony on the Clinton email issue last Wednesday.

This article has been updated, Friday, May 12 at 10:30 am.

In the wake of Comey’s dismissal, according to the Washington Post, Democratic senators, along with some Republicans, are now requesting that Rosenstein return to Capitol Hill next week to explain his role in the firing of the FBI director who was, of course, in the midst of a critical investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s role in the espionage.

“Following the meeting, Warner said he ‘still has concerns’ about Rosenstein, while Burr refused to say whether he has confidence in Rosenstein to oversee the Justice Department’s Russia-related investigations,” reports WaPo.

Based on his sterling reputation as an independent and apolitical federal prosecutor, Rosenstein won strong bipartisan support from an overwhelming majority in the Senate and was confirmed in a 94-6 vote just two weeks ago.

With AG Sessions’ recusal from the Trump-Russia investigation, deputy AG Rosenstein will be the one to decide whether the Justice Department will pursue charges against current or former Trump officials.

In an “Open Letter to the Deputy Attorney General,” on Thursday, the editorial board of The New York Times summed it up this way:

Few public servants have found themselves with a choice as weighty as yours, between following their conscience and obeying a leader trying to evade scrutiny — Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus, who behaved nobly in Watergate, come to mind. You can add your name to this short, heroic list. Yes, it might cost you your job. But it would save your honor, and so much more besides.

– Danielle Bizzarro


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