The decision to fire FBI Director James Comey came quickly — perhaps even haphazardly — but the seeds for his removal were sown weeks ago.
President Donald Trump was growing increasingly angry about the ongoing investigation of his associates’ ties to Russia, and he was furious when Comey testified that the FBI was investigating his campaign, reported Politico.
Trump was also furious that Comey refused to support his claims that former President Barack Obama had tapped his phones at Trump Tower, the website reported.
He was frustrated that the narrative had spun out of his control and repeatedly asked aides why the investigation wouldn’t just disappear, and one adviser said Trump would scream at the television when reports aired about the probe.
The president received letters Tuesday from the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommending Comey’s firing, according to a spokesman.
Trump decided to fire Comey and did so quickly, but the spokesman insisted the president had not asked for the letters in advance and White House officials had no idea the letters were coming.
However, several sources close to the situation told Politico that Trump had talked about firing Comey for over a week, and the letters were written to justify the move.
Trump called several senators around 5 p.m. Tuesday seeking support, and White House officials believed Democrats would back the firing because of their own past criticisms of Comey.
That’s not what happened.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told the president he was making a big mistake, and Trump seemed “taken aback,” according to one source.
The president spent the evening watching TV coverage of the firing, and a White House official said he was frustrated that none of his surrogates were defending his decision.
Two White House officials told the website that little communications strategy was developed for the firing, and staffers were given talking points late Tuesday for last-minute media appearances.
They circulated quotes by Schumer criticizing Comey’s actions during the final weeks of the presidential campaign, but that sketched-out plan had to be revised on the fly after Schumer called for a special prosecutor.