‘He wasn’t do­ing a good job’

Comey sought more Rus­sia probe re­sources be­fore fir­ing

Cape Breton Post - - World -

In the days be­fore his fir­ing by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey told U.S. law­mak­ers he had asked the Jus­tice De­part­ment for more re­sources to pur­sue the bu­reau’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, three U.S. of­fi­cials said Wed­nes­day.

The of­fi­cials said Comey met last week with Rod Rosen­stein, the deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral, to make the re­quest. Comey then alerted law­mak­ers with ties to the con­cur­rent con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sia’s med­dling, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cials, who in­sisted on anonymity in or­der to dis­close the pri­vate con­ver­sa­tions.

Jus­tice De­part­ment spokes­woman Sarah Is­gur Flores said it was false that Comey had asked Rosen­stein for money for the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The rev­e­la­tions raise new ques­tions about what prompted Trump’s de­ci­sion to fire Comey. The White House has cited a memo from Rosen­stein, in which he crit­i­cizes Comey’s han­dling of last year’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton’s email prac­tices.

Rosen­stein’s memo makes no men­tion of the FBI’s Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which is prob­ing both Rus­sia’s hack­ing of Demo­cratic groups last year and whether Trump cam­paign as­so­ciates had ties to Moscow’s elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence.

Trump de­fended his de­ci­sion Wed­nes­day, as­sert­ing in a flurry of tweets that both Democrats and Repub­li­cans

“will be thank­ing me” for his ac­tion. He did not men­tion any ef­fect the dis­missal might have on the FBI and con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tions into con­tacts be­tween his 2016 elec­tion cam­paign and Rus­sia.

“He wasn’t do­ing a good job. Very sim­ply. He was not do­ing a good job,” Trump said in brief re­marks to re­porters in the Oval Of­fice.

The White House said Trump had been con­sid­er­ing fir­ing Comey since the elec­tion.

“I think it has been an ero­sion of con­fi­dence,” White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee Sanders said.

The abrupt fir­ing of Comey threw into ques­tion the fu­ture

of the FBI’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion and im­me­di­ately raised sus­pi­cions of an un­der­handed ef­fort to stymie a probe that has shad­owed the ad­min­is­tra­tion from the out­set. Trump has ridiculed the in­ves­ti­ga­tions as “a hoax” and de­nied any cam­paign in­volve­ment with the Rus­sians.

Sanders said the White House would “en­cour­age” the FBI to com­plete the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. She said the pres­i­dent con­tin­ued to op­pose ap­point­ing a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor to over­see the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ear­lier Wed­nes­day, Se­nate Demo­cratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York urged At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions and his deputy, Rosen­stein, to

ap­pear be­fore the Se­nate to an­swer ques­tions about the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing Trump’s ac­tion.

How­ever, Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell brushed aside calls for a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor, say­ing a new in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling would only “im­pede the cur­rent work be­ing done.” He noted that Democrats had re­peat­edly crit­i­cized Comey in the past and some had called for his re­moval.

Trump made a sim­i­lar case on Twit­ter, say­ing Comey had “lost the con­fi­dence of al­most ev­ery­one in Washington,” adding: “When things calm down, they will be thank­ing me!”

AP PHOTO

Demon­stra­tors gather out­side the White House Wed­nes­day, a day af­ter U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump fired FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey.

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