President Donald Trump reportedly fired FBI Director James Comey over his mishandling of the Russia investigation. Trump’s firing of Comey on his 110th day as U.S. President took the media by storm, as the former FBI director is often referred to by the media as the one and only reason why Trump was elected President in the first place.
Just nine days before the presidential election last year, Comey grabbed global headlines and caused quite a stir across the nation by declaring that he had reopened the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. After Trump’s surprise election victory in November, many Democrats blamed Clinton’s loss on Comey and what they said was his unprecedented meddling in the election process. Trump himself had showered Comey with praises until recent weeks (the U.S. President even reportedly blew a kiss to Comey during a January Oval Office ceremony).
Multiple U.S. publications seem to be confident that the firing of Comey on Tuesday evening stemmed from his mishandling of the investigation into alleged ties between Russia and Trump associates. His termination came just a day before Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
The real reason Trump fired Comey?
Several sources, including Politico, alleged that Trump had grown “enraged” in recent weeks by the ongoing Russia investigation and reportedly kept asking his aids when the widely-publicized investigation would end. The officially stated reason for Comey’s termination was his alleged violation of Justice Department principles and procedures during the investigation into Clinton’s email scandal.
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) May 9, 2017
But the officially stated reason released by the White House and the Department of Justice’s letters calling for Comey’s dismissal were reportedly a “cover.” Rather, Trump’s decision to fire Comey allegedly stemmed from the FBI director’s investigation into the alleged cooperation between the Russians and Trump’s aids and his refusal to support the U.S. President’s claims that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped his phones in Trump Tower.
While many Democrats were initially enraged about Comey’s alleged interference with the 2016 election process, once things cooled down, some saw the now former FBI director as a potentially independent official within the Trump administration who could conduct an unbiased investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the U.S. President’s aids, according to The Washington Post.
Democrats threw mud at Comey for reigniting the email scandal weeks and days before the presidential election, accusing him of pushing Clinton’s voters away and affecting the election results. However, Trump and his administration have openly accused him of going too easy on Clinton during the email scandal investigation.
Trump had “grown angry” with Russia investigation
While the officially stated reason for Comey’s dismissal remains his alleged violation of DOJ principles and procedures by publicly discussing the email scandal, citing Trump’s close advisers, Politico claims that the U.S. President had “grown angry” with the Russia investigation. The blog also claims that he had admitted to investigating Trump’s campaign for alleged links to the Russian government.
Trump reportedly considered firing Comey for more than a week, and when he finally came to the decision to dismiss the him on Tuesday afternoon, he did not even bother to call Comey and tell him about the termination personally. Instead, the U.S. President reportedly opted to send one of his private security guards to deliver the gloomy news to FBI headquarters.
Citing two unnamed advisers, Politico wrote that Trump had “grown enraged” by the Russia investigation and was “frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia.” The report even alleges that the U.S. President would “sometimes scream at television clips about the probe” and kept asking his closest aides why the investigation keeps circulating in the press.
In his letter firing the FBI Director, Trump wrote that he “greatly appreciates” Comey informing him “on three separate occasions” that he was not under investigation. The comment raised questions in the media, but the White House declined to comment on when those three conversations between Trump and Comey happened or why the FBI director would provide the President with such information.
Trump fires Comey because he wasn’t “loyal”?
The New York Times alleged that Comey was fired just days after he had asked the DOJ for “a significant increase in money and personnel” for the investigation into alleged ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign. However, the DOJ later called the NYT’s report “totally false.”
On Wednesday, CNN’s Jake Tapper gave two reasons Trump fired Comey. One was that the FBI director had allegedly never provided Trump with any “assurance of personal loyalty.” The second was that the Russia probe was “not only not going anywhere – the investigation was accelerating.”
The Washington Post seems to be confirming the theory, as it cites “several current and former officials” as saying that the relationship between the Trump administration and the FBI “has been strained for months,” in part because the White House pressured Comey to focus on the investigation into leaks that “embarrassed the White House and raised questions about ties with Russia.”
But Comey allegedly refused to make the leak investigations the FBI’s first priority and put the Russia probe on the back burner. While by firing Comey, Trump allegedly wanted to avoid a wildfire – his decision on Tuesday night ended up being a spark that grew into a massive fire in the press. Trump’s decision to fire Comey amid the ongoing Russia investigation only turned up the heat in the media, with both Democrats and Republicans criticizing the U.S. President for ousting the FBI director.
CNBC’s John Harwood warned that Trump’s decision to fire the FBI director “endangers his entire presidency” and could even “shorten his times in office.”
Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday evening to accuse Democrats of “pretending to be aggrieved” by Comey’s dismissal, calling them “phony hypocrites.”
Dems have been complaining for months & months about Dir. Comey. Now that he has been fired they PRETEND to be aggrieved. Phony hypocrites!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Trump’s decision to oust Comey came on the 110th day since he assumed office, and the FBI director has not been the first high-profile official within the Trump administration to be booted off. The U.S. President previously fired the acting attorney general and national security adviser.