Rosenstein: Firing Comey Was 'Appropriate'

U.S. Capitol Police officers shove journalists out of the way as Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves the Hart Senate Office Building / Getty
May 19, 2017

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said during closed-door meetings with members of Congress that President Donald Trump made the right decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.

The Justice Department on Friday released Rosenstein's prepared remarks for both House and Senate lawmakers.

Rosenstein said the memo he wrote before Comey's firing was not intended to justify the former FBI director's dismissal. He did say, however, that "it was appropriate to seek a new leader" for the bureau, Bloomberg reported.

"Notwithstanding my personal affection for Director Comey, I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader," Rosenstein's prepared remarks read.

The deputy attorney general met with senators on Thursday and House members on Friday.

Rosenstein recently issued a memo criticizing Comey for his handling of the investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's email practices while serving as secretary of state. The White House initially said the memo prompted Trump to fire Comey.

Trump later contradicted that account during a televised interview, in which he said he intended to fire Comey regardless of Rosenstein's memo. The president also claimed during a press conference Thursday that he dismissed Comey after he performed poorly just weeks ago while giving congressional testimony.

Rosenstein declined to tell lawmakers who ordered him to write his memo or lay out a timeline of its development.