But for the senior leadership of the FBI, at least, it’s understandable: They lost their leader in the middle of a probe into Russian interference in the election — and into the possibility that the president himself might be compromised. As McCabe tells the Atlantic in an interview this week, the Oval Office meeting with the Russians was only the latest in a string of “head-scratching, completely shocking events.” The case was building, and this was the last straw.

For Rosenstein, however, this rationale doesn’t quite work. After all, he abetted Trump’s decision to fire Comey, writing the May 2017 memo recommending that Comey be relieved of his duties for his mishandling of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. He did this at Trump’s request. What’s more, says McCabe, Rosenstein was aware that Trump was motivated to fire Comey because of the Russia probe.