~ Auto Buzz ~: Why was Comey fired?

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Why was Comey fired?

James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was dismissed by U.S. President Donald Trump on May 9, 2017.[1][2] Comey had been under public and political pressure as a result of both the FBI's role in the Hillary Clinton email controversy and the FBI's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections,[3][4] which also involves a possible collusion with the 2016 Donald Trump campaign. The dismissal was by way of a termination letter, in which Trump outlined the reasons for the dismissal, as being based on recommendation of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, and also noted that Comey had told him on three separate occasions that he (Trump) was not under FBI investigation.[5] According to The Washington Post, sources stated that this and other assertions Trump made about events leading up to the dismissal were false,[6][7] and Trump subsequently implied that he may have the conversations with Comey on tape.[8] Comey later confirmed that he had informed Trump he was not under investigation, in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.[9]
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After the dismissal, Trump said that he had been considering the dismissal since the election, and had experienced an "erosion of confidence" because Comey was "not doing a good job", pointing to Comey's recent congressional testimony as problematic, and also basing the dismissal partly on a recommendation from the United States Department of Justice alleging that Comey had mishandled the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.[10] These justifications were criticized by some Democrats and political commentators, and Trump later sought to further explain his decision to dismiss Comey, saying that Comey was a "showboat" and "grandstander", while Trump also indicated that the dismissal was connected to dissatisfaction with the story about himself and Russian interference in the election.[11][12] During a meeting on May 10 with two Russian officials, Trump boasted about firing Comey, describing Comey as "crazy, a real nut job"[13] and saying to them that he (Trump) "faced great pressure because of Russia. That's taken off."[14]
According to Comey associates, Trump had asked Comey in January to pledge loyalty to him, to which Comey demurred, instead offering him "honesty", and when pressed further by Trump, "honest loyalty".[15][16][17] Trump denied that he asked Comey for his loyalty, but says such a discussion would not necessarily have been inappropriate.[18] However, House Speaker Paul Ryan disagreed stating that it's "obviously" inappropriate for the president to ask the FBI director for loyalty.[19] Several sources within the FBI have stated that the White House's firing of Comey was a culmination of high-level efforts to interfere in the Russia investigation.[20] Appearing before Congress two days after the dismissal, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified: "There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date", later adding "I cannot comment on any conversations that the Director may have had with the president".[21] Comey accepted an invitation from the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify at a public hearing, and later did so.[22][9]
On May 16, 2017, The New York Times reported on the existence of a memo written by Comey in February after a conversation with Trump, in which the FBI director described Trump's request that the FBI shut down the investigation into Trump associate Michael T. Flynn, who had resigned as National Security Adviser the previous day. The White House denied the allegation.[23] Comey personally believes that the White House tried to get him to halt the investigation.[24]
Comey's termination was controversial, with some comparing it to President Richard Nixon's termination of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox in the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre,[25][26][27] while Bob Woodward said the matter was not yet comparable to Watergate.[28][29] On May 17, Deputy Attorney General, as acting Attorney General, Rod Rosensteinappointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russia investigation.[30][31]

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