Deputy AG led Comey probe, Spicer says

Edmonton Journal - - COMEY FIRING - Jenna John­son

On Tues­day night, White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer held an im­promptu press con­fer­ence, stand­ing in near dark­ness be­tween two tall shrubs, with more than a dozen re­porters closely gath­ered around him. For 10 min­utes, he re­sponded to a flurry of ques­tions, vac­il­lat­ing be­tween light­hearted asides and clear frus­tra­tion with get­ting the same ques­tions over and over again.

The first ques­tion: Did the pres­i­dent di­rect Deputy At­tor­ney Gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein to con­duct a probe of FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey?

As Spicer tells it, Rosen­stein was con­firmed about two weeks ago and in­de­pen­dently took on this is­sue so the pres­i­dent was not aware of the probe un­til he re­ceived a memo from Rosen­stein on Tues­day, along with a let­ter from At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions rec­om­mend­ing that Comey be fired. The pres­i­dent then swiftly de­cided to fol­low the rec­om­men­da­tion, no­ti­fy­ing the FBI via email around 5 p.m. and in a let­ter de­liv­ered to the FBI by the pres­i­dent’s long­time body­guard. At the same time, the pres­i­dent per­son­ally called con­gres­sional lead­ers to let them know his de­ci­sion. Comey learned the news from me­dia re­ports.

“It was all him,” Spicer said of Rosen­stein.

Spicer said he was not aware of any of Rosen­stein’s su­pe­ri­ors who might have di­rected him to do this — al­though he then said that such ques­tions should be di­rected to Jus­tice of­fi­cials, not him.

Spicer re­peat­edly bat­ted down bi­par­ti­san calls that an in­de­pen­dent pros­e­cu­tor be as­signed to han­dle the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ties be­tween Trump’s cam­paign and Rus­sian of­fi­cials, say­ing that the cur­rent sys­tem is work­ing just fine.

Ex­actly 10 min­utes af­ter he started an­swer­ing ques­tions, Spicer stopped.

“Any­way,” Spicer said abruptly, “thank you, guys.”

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