Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly threatened to resign after Comey firing

Rod Rosenstein.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to quit after the White House pinned President Trump's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey on his recommendation, a person close to the White House told The Washington Post.

The White House released letters from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday that made the case for firing Comey; in his memo, Rosenstein said he could not defend Comey's "handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken." (Sessions, who has recused himself from Justice Department investigations into Russia and the Trump campaign, "should not have recommended Comey's firing, and he should not be involved in the selection of Comey's replacement," Washington University law professor Kathleen Clark tells The Wall Street Journal.)

While Trump said he fired Comey because of the recommendations of Rosenstein and Sessions, several people close to the situation said Trump had already made up his mind to fire Comey when he asked Rosenstein and Sessions to write out their cases against the FBI director. When the White House publicly made it sound like it was Rosenstein who pushed for Comey's dismissal and Trump merely took his recommendation, Rosenstein threatened to resign, the Post says. The report does not say why he decided not to quit. The Department of Justice declined to comment.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.