Sources of confusion. Press reports are that Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein threatened to resign unless Trump backed off on the assertion that he fired Comey based on recommendations by Rosenstein and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to fire the FBI director. So what is that about, since all of the TV commentators read the Rosenstein memorandum as making such a recommendation?
According to the Washington Post, Trump had decided to fire Comey ahead of time and then called Sessions and Rosenstein to the White House on Monday May 8th and directed them to put in writing the reasons for firing Comey. They complied.
But Rosenstein, an experienced Justice Department official, DID NOT INCLUDE IN HIS MEMO A RECOMMENDATION TO FIRE COMEY!
So Rosenstein had every right to object when Trump claimed in writing that he was only following Rosenstein's recommendation. He had carefully followed the president's direction and put in writing some reasons to fire Comey but he did not make the recommendation to do so.
My reading is that Trump, unfamiliar and contemptuous of the ways of career government officials, totally missed the subtlety of Rosenstein's memo. Apparently Trump was in such a big hurry that he did not ask anyone familiar with government to review Rosenstein's memo.
Anyone with experience in government would have spotted what Rosenstein did. More evidence that Trump is not competent to govern. But we already knew that.