Political Scandals

The White House Can't Keep Its Story Straight On Comey's Firing

President Trump said FBI Director James Comey was fired because of the Clinton email investigation but later contradicted himself.

The White House Can't Keep Its Story Straight On Comey's Firing
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The White House has faced a lot of questions about the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and it hasn't been able to keep its answers straight.

In his dismissal letter to Comey, President Trump said he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

That claim was echoed by Vice President Mike Pence and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

But when Trump was asked about it, he said his mind was made up before the recommendations.

"I was going to fire Comey — my decision. It was not ..." Trump said to NBC's Lester Holt

"You had made the decision before they came in the room?" Holt asked.

 "I was going to fire Comey," Trump said.

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Some are wondering why Sessions had any input in the decision at all, since Comey was heading an investigation Sessions promised not to touch.

"I have now decided to recuse myself from any existing or future investigations of any matters relating in any way to the campaigns for president of the United States," Sessions announced at a press conference.

An ethics expert who worked in the Obama White House told The Washington Post Sessions might have broken his recusal agreement, which could be an ethics violation.

In the letter, Trump said Comey told him he wasn't under investigation, but Comey testified that the FBI is probing the Trump campaign's potential ties to Russia. Trump said he didn't know about campaign investigations, only that he personally wasn't being looked into by the FBI.

The White House's reasoning seemed to shift as well. Rosenstein's letter only mentioned Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's emails to justify his termination.

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But Trump later called Comey a "showboat" and a "grandstander." The White House said many at the FBI lost faith in his ability to lead — a claim rejected by new acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

"Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day," McCabe told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.