Days Before He Was Fired, Comey Ask For Money For Russia Investigation
WASHINGTON — Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in money and personnel for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to three congressional officials who were briefed on his request.
Mr. Comey asked for the resources last week from Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr. Comey this week, the officials said.
Mr. Comey then briefed members of Congress on the meeting in recent days, telling them about his meeting with Mr. Rosenstein, who is the most senior law enforcement official supervising the Russia investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from that inquiry 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 President 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.
In his briefing with members of Congress, Mr. Comey said 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.