Speed Reads

in writing

Trump was reportedly stopped from sending a letter on the Comey firing. Now Special Counsel Mueller has it.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has gotten ahold of a letter that President Trump drafted before he fired former FBI Director James Comey, The New York Times reported Friday. The letter, which allegedly fully outlines Trump's reasoning for ousting Comey amid the mounting Russia investigation, was ultimately never sent. The Justice Department recently passed it along to Mueller.

White House counsel Don McGahn apparently found some of the contents of the letter, which Trump drafted with senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, to be "problematic," the Times reported. McGahn managed to convince the president not to send the letter. Instead, Comey received a letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that leaned heavily on Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

In Mueller's hands, the letter could prove illustrative. The Times described the letter as appearing to "provide the clearest rationale that Mr. Trump had for firing Mr. Comey" — specifically, how much the decision actually may have hinged upon Trump's frustrations and concerns about the investigation that Comey was leading into Russia's election meddling and the Trump team's potential ties to it.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Trump's lawyers have submitted multiple memos to Mueller arguing that Trump did not obstruct justice when he fired Comey. Marc E. Elias, former general counsel to Clinton's 2016 campaign, noted on Twitter that this is "highly unusual unless you have a good sense that the prosecutors are moving against your client."