President Donald Trump weighed firing his FBI director for more than a week. When he finally pulled the trigger Tuesday afternoon, he didn’t call James Comey. He sent his longtime private security guard to deliver the termination letter in a manila folder to FBI headquarters.
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.
Trump’s firing of the high-profile FBI director on the 110th day after the president took office marked another sudden turn for an administration that has fired its acting attorney general, national security adviser and now its FBI director, whom Trump had praised until recent weeks and even blew a kiss to during a January appearance.
The news stunned Comey, who saw news of his dismissal on TV while speaking inside the FBI office in Los Angeles. It startled all but the uppermost ring of White House advisers, who said grumbling about Comey hadn’t dominated their own morning senior staff meetings. Other top officials learned just before it happened and were unaware Trump was considering firing Comey. “Nobody really knew,” one senior White House official said. “Our phones all buzzed and people said, ‘What?’”
By ousting the FBI director investigating his campaign and associates, Trump may have added more fuel to the fire he is furiously trying to contain — and he was quickly criticized by a chorus of Republicans and Democrats. “The timing of this firing was very troubling,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican.
Mitch McConnell moved swiftly this morning to kill any talk of a special counsel. No Republican has taken up the call for one, not a single of them. They all know Trump is guilty and they are either complicit or they don't care.
By the way, the Trumpies were tipped off last week that the hammer was coming when Comey asked for more resources in order to expand the investigation.
Days before he was fired, James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the presidential election, according to four congressional officials, including Senator Richard J. Durbin.
Mr. Comey made his appeal to Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who also wrote the Justice Department’s memo that was used to justify the firing of Mr. Comey this week, the officials said.
“I’m told that as soon as Rosenstein arrived, there was a request for additional resources for the investigation and that a few days afterwards, he was sacked,” said Mr. Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois. “I think the Comey operation was breathing down the neck of the Trump campaign and their operatives, and this was an effort to slow down the investigation.”
Mr. Comey briefed members of Congress in recent days, telling them about his meeting with Mr. Rosenstein, who is the most senior law enforcement official supervising the Russia investigation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because of his close ties to the Trump campaign and his undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador.
The timing of Mr. Comey’s request is not clear-cut evidence that his firing was related to the Russia investigation. But it is certain to fuel bipartisan criticism that President Trump appeared to be meddling in an investigation that had the potential to damage his presidency.
As I told you yesterday, the investigation is now far beyond Flynn. Comey asking for more resources was the event that triggered the plan to fire him before the investigation could reach critical mass and start threatening Trump.
The GOP at this point doesn't care. Mitch and Paul Ryan will not allow anything to go forward because if they do, they will be indicted and imprisoned, and they know it.
Whoever replaces Comey will be under tremendous pressure from Trump to end the investigation. I fully expect that to happen before the end of the month. Even if Democrats move to filibuster a replacement, Mitch will move to kill the filibuster.
Pray there's elections still in 2018. For the first time I feel that will be in doubt.