A letter authored by President Trump and a senior adviser detailing why he fired FBI Director James Comey that was blocked by White House lawyers reportedly contained an angry complaint that the former FBI director refused to declare publicly that Trump was not under investigation.
The Washington Post reported Friday that the draft letter is currently under examination by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently leading the federal probe into the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow and collusion to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Post:
The multi-page letter enumerated Trump’s long-simmering complaints with Comey, according to people familiar with it, including Trump’s frustration that Comey was unwilling to say publicly that Trump was not personally under investigation in the FBI’s inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Trump drafted the letter with senior policy adviser Stephen Miller on an early-May weekend visit to his golf club in Bedminster, N.J., and then shared it with senior aides during an Oval Office meeting the day before the firing, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Trump’s draft letter was never released because it was blocked by White House counsel Don McGahn, who believed some of its contents were problematic, The New York Times reported Friday.
Instead, a different letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was sent. Rosenstein’s letter focused on Comey’s mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server
The Times notes that it is unknown how much of the rationale in the original letter focused on the Russia investigation.
Following Trump’s May 9 dismissal of Comey, the president told NBC’s Lester Holt that the probe had been on his mind when he made the decision to fire the FBI director.
“Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey,” Trump said during an interview on “NBC Nightly News,” adding “there was no good time to do it.”
“And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,’ ” he said.
Robert Mueller is currently investigating Russian interference in the presidential campaign and whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey, who was previously in charge of the probe.