A new report confirms that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein knew all along that President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey over the Russia investigation.
Rosenstein told former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe in May 2017 that the president had asked him to reference Russia in his memo recommending Comey's firing, but he didn't elaborate on what Trump wanted him to say, reported the New York Times.
McCabe was so concerned by the conversation that he wrote his own confidential memo afterward, which expressed concern that Rosenstein had helped the president cook up a cover story for Comey's firing -- and now special counsel Robert Mueller has the secret document.
Watergate figure John Dean, who agreed to testify in the case that brought down Richard Nixon, told CNN's Kate Bolduan that he didn't believe the evidence was damning against Rosenstein.
"I don't think necessarily so," Dean said. "What I see is, he's clearly showing what Trump's intent was to try to incorporate somehow justifying the firing. The summary of it suggest to me that another drop of water that shows us a little bit more of Trump's steady intent as to why he fired Comey -- and it was because of the Russia investigation, and that was very much on his mind."
Dean, who pleaded guilty to one felony count in the Watergate case, said the latest bombshell reporting doesn't prove an obstruction case against the president -- who has publicly admitted he fired Comey over the Russia probe now overseen by Mueller.
"It's no smoking gun, let's say that," Dean said. "I don't think this is in itself evidence of obstruction, but we've just seen a broad pattern of behavior, and with this obstruction there's two types. There's one, what comes under the statute where even an endeavor to obstruct can be criminally charged, and then we have political obstruction, which is what the Congress will be considered as they did with Clinton, when he was addressed with a charge of obstruction as was Nixon, who had a very strong case against him."