Donald Trump on the May 9 2017 fired the Director of the FBI, James Comey, sacking the person leading a criminal investigation into whether any of Trump’s team colluded with the Russian government to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
This latest (almost), unbeleiveable development in Trump’s presidency raised the dangerous outcome of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation. Following this latest development top Democrats have called for a special counsel to lead the investigation.
“That’s why this move is stunning, and there’s really no other way to describe it. It’s the timing that is important here. This is an investigation that is being conducted by the FBI’s counterintelligence unit, it is very secretive and confined to that division of the FBI. To make this change in midstream raises questions about the direction of the investigation and who will come next to lead it,” CBS News justice correspondent Jeff Pegues states
The official reason that Donald Trump gave for firing FBI Director, James Comey was because he was following advice from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The memorandum from Rosenstein references the handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails. The memorandum later reads “we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation… The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing arguement, without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecuters and agents are taught not to do. APT – FBI Director James Comey fired
The 7 reasons why Trump fired Comey were as follows:
- Comey poorly handled conclusion of investigation into Clinton’s emails
- Comey had lost the trust of the public
- Comey lost trust of the rank and file of the FBI
- Trump was acting on advice of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
- Comey was not doing a good job
- Comey failed to stop leaks from the FBI
- Comey gave incorrect testimoney to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3rd May
FBI reopens investigation into Hillary Clinton emails 2016/10/28
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote. “I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
Comey added: “Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant and I cannot predict how long it will take to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.” The Guardian – FBI reopens Clinton investigation
Trump previously praised Comey for reopening investigation of Hillary Clinton emails
Back on the 31st October, Trump, who had previously criticised FBI Director James Comey for not bringing charges against Clinton, said he had to give the FBI credit.
“That was so bad what happened originally, and it took guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had where they’re trying to protect her from criminal prosecution,” Trump said at a Michigan campaign rally.
“It took a lot of guts.”
In Trump’s letter to Comey, he states “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission”
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders stated on the 10th May 2017 that “Most importantly, the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in their director.”
On the 11th May FBI Associate Director Andrew McCabe was appearing in front of congress as replacement for Comey. During testimoney, McCabe was asked by the Democratic Senator for New Mexico Martin Heinrich “Is it accurate that the rank and file no longer supported Director Comey”. McCabe responded with “No Sir, that is not accurate, I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity,” McCabe later added “Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI, and still does to this day.”
On the 11th May in an interview with NBC, Trump said he was “going to fire Comey, my decision… I was going to fire Comey… I was going to fire regardless of recommendation” from Rosenstein.
Trump told reporters “because he wasn’t doing a good job. Very simply, he was not doing a good job.”
“How important was the FBI director’s failure to stop the leaks coming out of the FBI to the president? How important was that?” a reporter asked Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders during the briefing on the May 10.
“I think that’s probably one of the many factors,” she responded. “You can’t deny…that that wasn’t a problem. And so I think that was just another one of the many reasons that he no longer had the confidence of the president or the rest of the FBI.”
7. Comey gave incorrect testimoney to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 3rd May
Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 3 that “hundreds of thousands of emails” were forwarded from Huma Abedin to Anthony Weiner’s computer.
On Tuesday May 9, the FBI wrote to the committee to supplement Comey’s testimoney.
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders said May 11 that “after watching Director Comey’s testimony last Wednesday, the president was strongly inclined to remove him.”
Trump tweet on 12th may 2017
On the 12th May Trump tweeted “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”, this has strong overtones of Richard Nixon and the associated Watergate scandal in 1973. Nixon refused to comply with orders to release recordings of White House conversations.
“While the President has the legal authority to remove the Director of the FBI, I am disappointed in the President’s decision to remove James Comey from office… James Comey is a man of honour and integrity, and he has led the FBI well in extraordinary circumstances.” Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona
“Today’s action by President Trump completely obliterates any semblance of an independent investigation into Russian efforts to influence our election, and places our nation on the verge of a constitutional crisis,” Representative John Conyers, senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
“My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of this letter is bizarre,” Representative Justin Amash, Republican of Michigan
“I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination,” Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina
“I’ve spent the last several hours trying to find an acceptable rationale for the timing of Comey’s firing. I just can’t do it.” Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona.
- Trump comments on Russia
- Christopher Steele dossier 2017/01/10
- Michael Flynn Resignation
- Trump asked Comey to shut down Flynn investigation
- Trump news conference 2017/02/16
- James Comey testimony 2017/03/20
- Sally Yates testimony 2017/05/08
- FBI director James Comey fired by Trump 2017/05/09
- Why did trump fire Comey
- Trump leaks classified information to the Russians 2017/05/18
- Kushner proposes back channel with Russians 2017/05/18
- James Comey testifies to Senate intelligence Committee 2017/06/08
- Trump probed for obstruction of justice 2017/06/15
- Donald Trump Jnr Issues Statement to NY Times regarding June 9 2016 Meeting with Russian Lawyer 2017/07/08
- Donald Trump Jnr admits he met Russian Lawyer
- Donald Trump Jnr releases email chain 2017/07/11
- Trump Attacks Sessions Over Recusal 2017/07/19
- Kushner testifies to Senate Intelligence Committee 2017/07/24
- Paul Manafort Meets With Senate Intelligence Committee 2017/07/25
- Trump Says Mueller’s Job Is Not ‘Safe’ 2017/07/25
- FBI Raids Manafort’s Home 2017/07/26
- White House Admits Trump ‘Weighed In’ on Don Jr.’s Misleading Statement 2017/08/01
- Robert Mueller Impanels Grand Jury in DC 2017/08/03
- Russian Lobbyist Testifies before Mueller’s Grand Jury 2017/08/11
- Mueller Subpoenas Grand Jury Witnesses in Manafort Probe 2017/08/25
- Facebook confirms that Russians paid for adverts 2017/09/06
- Donald Trump Jnr issues prepared remarks and appears in front of the Senate Intelligence committee 2017/09/07
- US government wiretapped Paul Manafort during 16 and 17 2017/09/17
- Mueller requests White House documents related to Trump’s actions as President 2017/09/20
- Russian-funded Facebook ads backed Stein, Sanders and Trump 2017/09/26
- Christopher Steele Talking to Senate Intelligence Committee 2017/10/06
- Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Joint Press Conference 2017/10/16
- Jeff Sessions appears in front of Senate Judiciary Committee 2017/10/18
- Trump furious at continuing Russian inestigation 2017/10/29
- Paul Manafort charged with conspiracy to launder money and George Papadopoulos plea bargain 2017/10/30