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Rod Rosenstein defends Comey memo, says there was no 'political interference'

In a closed-door meeting Friday with House and Senate members, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stood by the memo he wrote to President Trump outlining his concerns with FBI Director James Comey. After opening with a candid statement about his "personal affection" for Comey, he detailed the series of missteps he felt Comey had made that led him to believe "it was appropriate to seek a new leader" for the FBI.

Rosenstein confirmed he had learned on May 8 that Trump intended to dismiss Comey and wanted his advice; the memo is dated May 9, the day that Trump fired Comey. "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it," Rosenstein said. He insisted there has not been "any political interference."

House members described Rosenstein's statement as "very guarded" and "frustratingly cautious." "It's clear he just wanted to defer to Mueller on everything tough," one Democratic lawmaker told CNN, referring to former FBI Director Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to probe Trump's ties to Russia.

Rosenstein also claimed Friday that neither he nor his staff were "aware of any such request" by the FBI for "additional resources" for the FBI's investigation into Russia's election interference. Reports have indicated Comey asked for more resources to expedite the investigation just days before Trump fired him.