House Democrats largely described Friday’s closed-door classified briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as uninformative, telling reporters he opted not to answer the majority of their questions on the circumstances surrounding President Donald Trump’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey.
While Democrats praised Rosenstein’s decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special counsel tasked with leading the independent investigation into the Russian government’s meddling in the 2016 election, most said they didn’t hear anything that hadn’t been reported in the press.
Texas Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett said he felt assured Mueller will have the resources needed to properly conduct the investigation, but “beyond that, the most frequent offered answer was ‘I will not answer that question.'”
“Anything having to do with his conduct, he chose not to answer and to say that even his own conduct was within the purview of Director Mueller,” Doggett told reporters.
Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist of Florida had similar sentiments, saying there are still a lot of facts that remain to be seen.
“It was a brief presentation followed by a Q and A — and not a whole lot of A,” he told reporters.
Several Democrats confirmed Rosenstein would not answer whether anyone directed him to write the memo released last week discussing the reasoning behind Comey’s termination.
“It was worthless — it’s irresponsible to have 435 members of Congress come and listen to nothing,” one Democratic rep told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I wish I had that hour of my life back.”
GOP Rep. Darrell Issa, the former chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said the memo was not out of the norm.
“I don’t believe he in any way indicated anyone directed him,” he told reporters.
Friday’s briefing marks Rosenstein’s second visit to Capitol Hill this week. The deputy AG briefed members of the upper chamber Thursday, where he confirmed to senators the president planned to fire Comey before reports emerged of a memo written by Comey alleging Trump told him to terminate his investigation.
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