Like his predecessor James Comey, former acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew G. McCabe wrote confidential memos detailing conversations he thought might be important later. One of those memos detailed a meeting that McCabe had with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which Comey’s firing was discussed. That memo has now been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into whether Donald Trump tried to obstruct the Russia investigation.
The New York Times first reported on the existence of the memo Wednesday. In it, McCabe wrote that in the days after Comey was fired from his position as FBI director, Rosenstein said that Trump had asked him to mention Russia in his May 9, 2017, memo outlining all of the reasons Comey should be dismissed from his position. Rosenstein ultimately did not mention Russia in the memo, and he gave no indication as to just what Trump wanted him to say about Russia in the memo.
But the mere mention of Russia and the fact that Rosenstein’s memo seemed to focus on Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation led McCabe to believe that Rosenstein may have helped provide a cover story for the firing.
As the Times points out, McCabe’s memo points out the obvious conflicts of interest Rosenstein has in relation to the investigation. While he is in charge of supervising and protecting the investigation, there are reports that he has allowed Trump’s congressional allies to see important documents from the investigation.
In addition, Trump has invoked Rosenstein’s role as some sort of evidence that Comey’s firing was not an attempt to obstruct the investigation. Meanwhile, Rosenstein ultimately has a say in whether or not claims of obstruction against the president have merit.
It’s all very wink-wink, nudge-nudge—but it’s now a part of Mueller’s official investigation.
What will come of it remains to be seen.