President Trump’ssent Washington spiraling, while raising questions about everything from Mr. Trump’s motives to how the closely-held decision happened.
Mr. Trump had lost confidence in Comey over the past months, the White House told reporters Wednesday night. Watching Comey’s testimony last week —— inclined him to remove the FBI director, the White House said.
On Monday, Mr. Trump met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to discuss the reasons for removing Comey. The next day, Tuesday, Rosenstein sent his written recommendation justifying Comey’s removal to Sessions, who in turn sent his own recommendation to Mr. Trump, according to the White House.
Mr. Trump’s motive for firing Comey — his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation is the justification Rosenstein offered — is under scrutiny, as Comey was in the throes of managing the FBI’s investigation into any ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and was set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday.
The following are the details as they unfolded when Trump fired his FBI director:
Tuesday, May 9
6:51 a.m. (Eastern Time) CBS News confirms the FBI has acknowledged that Comey misspoke during testimony he gave the week before about how many Clinton emails Clinton aide Huma Abedin forwarded to her husband, congressman Anthony Weiner.
Shortly after 5 p.m. The White House emails the FBI to notify the agency that Comey is fired, Mr. Trump has his longtime body guard Keith Schiller hand deliver a letter to the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
5:30 p.m.is called into a meeting and appointed acting director of the FBI.
(Roughly) 5:30 p.m. Mr. Trump calls U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein and other lawmakers to say he would be removing Comey, and that the agency needs a change.
5:40 p.m. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tells reporters who happen to be in the White House briefing room area that Comey has been fired. He and his staff then disappear, locking the door to his office behind them.
The White House emails a statement to reporters announcing Comey’s removal.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office,” the statement from Spicer said. “President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
The White House gives reporters Mr. Trump’s letter firing Comey, along with letters from Sessions and from Rosenstein. Rosenstein’s letter sets out the justification for Comey’s firing — namely, his mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.
Meanwhile, Comey, at the Los Angeles FBI field office, walks into an area with numerous television screens on the walls. As he speaks with a handful of…