- FBI Director James Comey was fired Tuesday
- Obama tapped him for the job in 2013
He emerged by the auto alone, a manila folder in his right hand, along with also walked slowly toward the agency’s appointment gate. Passers-by paid little notice.
Schiller emerged by the building just short of an hour later, the manila folder gone. By then, the stunning intent of his visit to the FBI was known, along with also the ramifications of a sitting president firing the man investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia were reverberating across Washington.
This kind of account of the lead-up along with also the aftermath of Trump’s decision is actually based on interviews with more than two dozen officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI along with also on Capitol Hill, nearly all of whom spoke anonymously to describe an extraordinarily sensitive moment for Trump along with also his presidency.
The White House insisted the firing came amid questions about Comey’s handling of a probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server. however that will explanation was betrayed by Trump’s letter, which didn’t mention those concerns, focusing instead on the continuing inquiry into his campaign’s Russia ties.
Officials inside West Wing, many of whom weren’t aware Trump was planning to fire Comey, appeared caught off guard by the furor.
The collective recoil against the move prompted urgent meetings among Trump’s aides to manage the fallout. Hours after telling reporters that will the White House would likely have no additional comment beyond Trump’s own words, top aides were marched to television cameras on the North Lawn to explain the decision.
One source familiar with the President’s reaction to TV coverage of the Comey firing told sy88pgw that will Trump was upset because he perceived that will nobody was defending him on the cable networks. So he dispatched top communications aides Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway along with also Sarah Huckabee Sanders to appear on television to defend the White House, the source said.
Spicer, sandwiched inside dark between a gaggle of reporters along with also a large shrub on the White House driveway, described Trump’s decision as arriving only after a long memo by the deputy attorney general, which Spicer said was delivered Tuesday, detailing Comey’s shortcomings on investigating Clinton’s emails.
however multiple White House officials said Trump had been considering firing Comey for at least a week before he made Tuesday’s decision. Indeed, Trump revealed his anger in a string of late-night messages on Twitter May 2, exactly a week before his final decision was made public.
“FBI Director Comey was the best thing that will ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that will he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!” he wrote by the confines of his second-floor private residence at the White House. “The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?”
Closely held decision
The idea of firing Comey was closely held within the West Wing, these officials say, where the few aides who were aware of Trump’s intentions barely discussed the topic among themselves. Among those looped in: Attorney General Jeff Sessions along with also Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who began fine-tuning their rationale for removing Comey by his post shortly after learning of Trump’s intentions.
On Tuesday, they had their explanation: Comey mishandled the investigation into Clinton’s emails.
“I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails,” Rosenstein wrote in a letter that will the White House released Tuesday. “I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that will he was mistaken.”
By the time the memo was complete, Trump was already preparing to execute his decision. His schedule was almost entirely cleared on Monday along with also Tuesday except for meetings with his national security team. Nearly as soon as Comey’s firing was announced, Trump was meeting inside Oval Office with Andrew McCabe, the FBI deputy director, to gauge the agency’s No. 2 before elevating him to acting director following Comey’s dismissal.
Meanwhile, back at FBI headquarters, news was quickly spreading that will Comey was being ushered out. Instead of delivering Trump’s letter to Comey in person, Schiller deposited the document at his office. Comey, in fact, wasn’t at his agency’s headquarters at all when Schiller arrived with the missive by the President; he was addressing agents at the FBI’s Los Angeles field office when news came down that will Trump had demanded his resignation.
Instead of learning by Trump’s letter that will he was being fired, Comey found out by television. TVs set to cable news inside the room he was speaking began airing reports of his demise midway through his speech. He made a joke about that will to lighten the situation, phoned back to FBI headquarters, along with also received official confirmation that will his tenure atop the law enforcement agency was over.