President Trump unceremoniously fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday evening. The move baffled many, including Comey, who initially thought the news of his career’s demise was an elaborate joke because Trump didn’t bother sending his breakup letter to the FBI’s D.C. headquarters until after Comey found out from the press. Now, a Politico report brings the inside story of what went down behind the White House scenes after Trump canned the FBI director, and — surprise! — it sounds like chaos.
There are multiple reasons why Trump was incensed with Comey. We’ll summarize those later, but oh, the fallout. CNN’s Dana Bash revealed that Trump believed the firing would not cause waves. Meanwhile, the New York Times dissected how Trump’s resentment against Comey built up for a year, but over the past week, he “saw an opening.” He told AG Jeff Sessions (who recused himself from the Russia probe) to find a reason to fire Comey, and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein declared that Comey’s conclusions on Clinton’s emails were indefensible. Indeed, one week ago, Trump tweet-slammed Comey for giving Hillary “a free pass for many bad deeds … the phony.”
Politico backs up the NY Times‘ timeline while digging into the Trump drama (by speaking with two of his unnamed advisors who decided to leak). The president has apparently been growing increasingly ragey over investigations into Russia-Trump ties, and he was so mad that Comey refused to bury Russia stories for him. This led Trump to get shouty at cable news shows:
He had grown enraged by the Russia investigation, two advisers said, frustrated by his inability to control the mushrooming narrative around Russia. He repeatedly asked aides why the Russia investigation wouldn’t disappear and demanded they speak out for him. He would sometimes scream at television clips about the probe, one adviser said.