Washington, DC, is buzzing with the latest White House scandal — that President Donald Trump reportedly revealed highly classified information to a Russian official. But on Capitol Hill, lawmakers still have to settle the last week’s White House blunder.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the man who made the first official case against James Comey — is paying Congress a visit Thursday to brief the full Senate on just what went down in the White House leading up to Trump’s dismissal of the FBI director.
At the invitation of Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer, Rosenstein will be giving the full Senate a briefing at 2:30 pm Thursday, May 18. The briefing will be classified, and therefore not open to the public. McConnell’s spokesperson declined to give details on the briefing’s format.
Rosenstein was pushed into the spotlight last week when the White House used his memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions (which was made public) as the official line on Trump’s decision to fire Comey.
In the memo, Rosenstein argued that Comey’s mishandling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state was reason enough to fire him:
The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of his mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.
The White House’s story quickly unraveled in the days after the memo was made public, however, after Trump himself admitted he fired Comey because of the FBI’s investigation into Russia and the Trump campaign’s possible ties.
Both Democrats and Republicans have demanded more information on Comey’s firing.
"I'm pleased that Majority Leader McConnell has agreed to our request to invite the Deputy Attorney General to brief the full Senate, and that Mr. Rosenstein has accepted," Schumer told Politico.
"I hope that senators from both sides of the aisle will use this opportunity to seek the full truth regarding Director Comey’s firing, to press the Deputy Attorney General to make way for a special prosecutor, and to ensure the administration will preserve and make public any audio recordings of conversations between the President and the former director,” he said.