A timeline of events that led up to Comey's firing

Elizabeth Williams
May 14, 2017

The timing and circumstances behind Donald Trump's dismissal of FBI Director James Comey has spurred concerns that the president meant to obstruct the FBI's investigation into his campaign, which in turn has resulted in talk of impeachment among critics and some Democratic lawmakers.

President Donald Trump issued a thinly veiled threat Friday to fired FBI Director James Comey, apparently suggesting there are possibly recorded conversations between the two men that could be leaked to counter the former FBI director if necessary.

For Mr O'Donnell and others who have had regular dealings with Mr Trump through the years, there was something viscerally real about the threat implied by the President's "tapes" tweet.

At another point in the NBC interview, Mr. Trump said of the decision to fire Mr. Comey: "When I chose to do it, I said to myself, 'You know, this Russian Federation thing with Trump and Russian Federation is a made-up story'".

Nothing has come from this investigation yet; Mr Comey said it was "very complex" and that he could not give a timetable for its completion.

At first, the administration said that Rosenstein "made the recommendation, the president made a swift and decisive action and let Comey go".

At the beginning, Trump's aides said Comey's firing came at the suggestion of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, but by Wednesday the word was that Trump had been considering firing Comey for a long time, and made the final determination after hearing from Sessions and Rosenstein.

Asked directly whether Trump possessed a recording of his meetings with Comey, as well as whether a secret recording system even existed, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to answer. Indeed, Comey himself would learn of his firing from news accounts from CNN, on a television screen at the FBI's field office in Los Angeles, announcing his removal as he was about to give a speech to Federal Bureau of Investigation recruits.

"I was going to fire Comey - my decision", Trump told NBC News' Lester Holt in an interview that aired Thursday.

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Trump, heeding advice from Department of Justice, fires Comey, informing him that he is "not able to effectively lead the bureau". Mr Trump said this week he alone was responsible for the decision to sack Mr Comey, calling him a "showboat" and "grandstander".

"That's, frankly, offensive", Mr Spicer said. "Maybe the best thing to do would be to cancel all future "press briefings" and hand out written responses for the sake of accuracy???" he mused, admitting that his own people were struggling to keep up with his "active" presidency.

The White House said Mr Spicer was called up to reserve duty for the Navy for those days.

After Trump tweeted in March that President Barack Obama had ordered a wiretap on his phones in Trump Tower, three ex-employees told The Associated Press that as a businessman, Trump not only anxious about possible listening devices in his phones and office but had also occasionally taped his own phone conversations.

Trump said those discussions occurred once during dinner and twice over the phone.

The Watergate scandal accelerated drastically when it was revealed Nixon taped conversations in the White House.

Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment on whether the President recorded conversations inside his Trump Tower office.

"He viewed Mr Comey as eager to step in front of TV cameras and questioned whether his expanding media profile was warping his view of the Russian Federation investigation, the officials said".

"He repeatedly asked aides why the Russian Federation investigation wouldn't disappear and demanded they speak out for him", Politico reported.

Comey instead told the Republican president he could count on his honesty, the Times said.

Other reports by VgToday

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