Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday met with the chair and ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee during the panel’s hearing with members of the intelligence committee on world threats.
Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) told reporters after the meeting that it had been a previously scheduled chat. Initial reports suggested that it was an impromptu meeting, as Burr and Ranking Member Mark Warner (D-VA) left the hearing before it was over to meet with Rosenstein.
The senators told reporters that they requested the meeting with Rosenstein ahead of Comey’s departure and that they discussed ways for the Senate committee to avoid interfering with the FBI probe of Russia’s election meddling.
— ABC News (@ABC) May 11, 2017
Rosenstein was seen walking into Senate Intel room. Burr just said he, Warner have to step out for important meeting https://t.co/GylYtbjna6
— Rebecca Shabad (@RebeccaShabad) May 11, 2017
Burr just handed off the gavel because of a meeting 'we can't push off.' https://t.co/Ym9UV8Sgxc
— Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) May 11, 2017
News of the meeting came as senators quizzed the new acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, on the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and on the circumstances surrounding the firing of James Comey as FBI director.
Rosenstein has come under fire from Democrats for his role in Comey’s firing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Thursday plans to send a letter to Rosenstein telling him that his “reputation for integrity and impartiality” is “now imperiled by your participation in the abrupt dismissal of FBI Director Comey,” according to the Washington Post. Schumer asked Rosenstein a series of questions about his role in the decision to fire Comey.
In the letter, Schumer noted that reports on Trump’s reasoning for firing Comey cast doubt on the ostensible reasons for Comey’s departure laid out in a memo written by Rosenstein.
“This skepticism, and indeed all of the circumstances surrounding Director Comey’s dismissal just as he was leading an investigation into the Trump administration’s and Trump campaign’s ties with Russia and President Putin’s interference with the 2016 election, have shaken public confidence in the Department, in your leadership, and in the administration of law and justice in our country,” Schumer wrote, per the Post.