Shortly after Trump's dismissal of Comey, Trump defenders had plenty of ammunition. Widely respected and nonpartisan Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had reportedly recommended that Trump fire Comey.
But then the communications from Team Trump on the matter seemed to muddy the waters. Though maintaining that Rosenstein's recommendation was pivotal, Trump spokespeople added other reasons. They claimed that Trump had fired Comey based on his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and because numerous FBI agents and employees were dispirited by Comey's actions.
Then acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified, "The vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey." A number of retired FBI officials also apparently showed solidarity with Comey by using his face for their Facebook profile photos. And though Rosenstein has contradicted mainstream media reports that he was contemplating resigning over the narrative that he had recommended Comey's dismissal, he reportedly claims that he did not expressly recommend the firing. Oh, boy.