Mueller Has Draft of Trump Letter on Comey’s Firing

President Trump didn’t send the letter, which reportedly was written in an “angry, meandering tone.” The document may play a role in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which includes a look at whether Trump obstructed justice.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained a letter drafted by President Trump and a top aide that offered what the New York Times calls “an unvarnished view” of Trump’s thinking before the president fired the FBI.director, James Comey. The circumstances and reasons for the firing are believed to be a significant element of Mueller’s investigation, which includes whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey. The letter was not sent because Donald McGahn II, the White House counsel, believed that its angry, meandering tone was problematic. Among McGahn’s concerns were references to private conversations the president had with Comey, including times when the FBI. director told Trump he was not under investigation in the FBI’s Russia inquiry.

Trump did not send the letter to Comey. The president wrote it with Stephen Miller, a top political adviser. A copy was given to Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who then drafted his own letter, which was used as the Trump administration’s public rationale for Comey’s firing. The stated reason was that Comey had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. McGahn’s concerns about Trump’s letter show how much he realized that the president’s rationale for firing Comey might not hold up to scrutiny, and how he and other administration officials sought to build a more defensible public case for his ouster.