Days Afore Dismissing, Comey Requested for Further Resources for Russia Investigation

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Days afore Comey dismissal, the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, questioned the Justice Department for a major increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation hooked on Russia’s meddling in the presidential election, conferring to four congressional representatives, including Senator Richard J. Durbin.

Related to his dismissal Mr. Comey made his appeal to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who also wrote the Justice Department’s letter that was used to justify the dismissal of Mr. Comey this week, the spokespersons said.

“I’m stated that as soon as Rosenstein arrived, there was a request for additional resources for the probe and that a few days after that, he was fired,” said Mr. Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois. “I think the Comey operation was breathing down the neck of the Trump campaign and their operatives, and this was an effort to slow down the investigation.”

Later on, Wednesday, in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s own step up investigation into Russia’s election interference, Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, was requested to hand over records of any emails, phone calls, meetings and financial dealings with Russians.

The demand, which came in the first order issued by the committee in its investigation, represented an aggressive new tack for what had been a slowly unfolding inquiry. Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the Republican chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Democratic vice chairman, said in a statement that they had issued the order after Mr. Flynn refused to voluntarily comply with a request to hand over the information.
Late last month, the board asked a number of high-profile Trump campaign associates to hand over emails and other records of dealings with Russians.

In the Justice Department’s investigation, Mr. Comey had briefed members of Congress in recent days about his meeting with Mr. Rosenstein, who is the most senior law enforcement official supervising that inquiry. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because of his close ties to the Trump campaign and his undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador.

The timing of Mr. Comey’s request is not clear-cut evidence that his firing was related to the Russia investigation. But it is certain to fuel bipartisan criticism that Mr. Trump appeared to be meddling in an investigation that had the potential to damage his presidency.

The F.B.I. declined to comment. But Sarah Isgur Flores, the Justice Department spokeswoman, said “the idea that he asked for more funding” for the Russia investigation was “totally false.” She did not elaborate.

Mr. Comey, in his briefing with members of Congress, said that he had been frustrated with the amount of resources being dedicated to the Russia investigation, according to two of the officials. Until two weeks ago, when Mr. Rosenstein took over as deputy attorney general, the investigation was being overseen by Dana Boente, who was acting as the deputy and is now the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Mr. Comey has said he was hoping that he would find a supportive boss in Mr. Rosenstein, and according to the officials, pressed for more resources so he could accelerate the investigation, and it is also examining possible collusion between Trump associates and the Russian interference campaign. It was unclear how Mr. Rosenstein responded to the request, or whether the White House was informed of it.

To a president who puts a premium on loyalty, Mr. Comey represented a fiercely independent official who applied incredible power. Mr. Comey made his career standing up to members of the George W. Bush administration on matters of surveillance. And his advisers have cast his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as evidence that he was equally willing to criticize the Democratic nominee for president.
The stated reason for his termination was because Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation, and the White House has insisted it had nothing to do with the Russia inquiry, which has become a major distraction for the Trump administration.

Mr. Comey ruined with longstanding policies by talking publicly about the Clinton investigation twice last year. Comey also termed Mrs. Clinton’s handling of classified evidence as “extremely careless,” an estimation that went far beyond what the authorities normally say in cases where nobody is charged.

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