On the heels of the explosive firing of the FBI director, three US officials told the New York Times Wednesday that James Comey had recently requested more funding from the Justice Department for the bureau's ongoing investigation into Russia's alleged election meddling.
According to the Times, the former FBI director ran the request by Rod Rosenstein, the DOJ's deputy attorney general, last week. Rosenstein, who works under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, now oversees the Russia investigation because Sessions had to recuse himself from any probe involving Trump's campaign.
After this meeting, Rosenstein then issued a letter on Tuesday that slammed Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's email scandal and recommended he be fired. Trump cited this recommendation in his own letter to Comey, dismissing him because he felt he was "not able to effectively lead the bureau."
Despite reportedly telling members of Congress that he had met with Rosenstein and asked for more money, Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman from the DOJ, told the Times Wednesday "the idea he asked for more funding" was "totally false." Officials told the Times that Comey had grown frustrated with the number of resources he was receiving for the investigation under Rosenstein.
The report raises even more questions surrounding the abrupt timing of Comey's dismissal. Although Trump's letter suggests the firing was because how Comey handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state—something Democrats believe cost her the election—others think it was likely about the ongoing Russia probe. Many lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle, have since called for a special prosecutor to come in and take over the investigation.
"It is clear that whomever President Trump handpicks to lead the FBI will not be able to objectively carry out the Russia investigation," Bernie Sanders said Tuesday. "We need an independent investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia."