The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Comey sought more resources for Russia probe days before he was fired by President Trump, officials say

The turmoil surrounding former FBI Director James Comey and President Trump started long before Comey was fired on May 9. (Video: Jenny Starrs, Julio Negron/The Washington Post, Photo: Andrew Harrer/The Washington Post)

Last week, then-FBI Director James B. Comey requested more resources from the Justice Department for his bureau’s investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, according to two officials with knowledge of the discussion.

Comey, who was fired by President Trump on Tuesday, made the request in a meeting last week with Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, and later briefed the chair and Democratic ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Monday, the officials said.

[With Comey's dismissal, the Russia investigation will soon be run by Trump allies]

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the chairman, and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) the ranking member, met  on Monday with Comey, according to several people familiar with the meeting.

Later, at a regular meeting of Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Warner informed them that Comey told the two committee chiefs about his request for more resources, said two officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

However, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said reports that Comey had requested more funding or other resources for the Russia investigation are “totally false.” Such a request, she said, “did not happen.”

Rosenstein wrote the memo that was used to justify Trump’s swift and unexpected firing of Comey on Tuesday evening.

The news was first reported by the New York Times.

Asked by reporters Wednesday whether she was briefed by Comey on requests for additional funding for the investigation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said: “I was not. But I understand that there have been additional requests. That's all I can say.”

It's unclear where the FBI investigation stands. Comey acknowledged publicly in March that the FBI was looking into possible coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign, and he said the investigation had begun in late July. Comey said that for a counterintelligence probe, “that’s a fairly short period of time.”

Last summer, the FBI obtained a secret court order to monitor the communications of Carter Page, who was an early adviser to the Trump campaign, as part of its investigation. Page has not been accused of any crimes, and it is unclear whether the Justice Department will eventually seek charges against him or others in connection with Russian interference in the 2016 campaign.

Law enforcement officials are also examining contacts between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russian officials.

The Washington Post's Philip Rucker explains how and why FBI Director James Comey was fired. (Video: Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

Ed O'Keefe, Sean Sullivan and Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.

Listen below to reporter Matt Zapotosky explain what we know so far, on the “Can He Do That?” podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.