Trump FIRES FBI Director Comey, who was investigating him…
… despite Trump’s protestations.
UPDATE, 8:55pmEDT – Karen Greenberg on MSNBC “[Comey] was not fired according to process.”
Well, what do you expect? We’re dealing with autocratic idiots. Dana Bash tweeted this about an hour ago:
Source w knowledge of wh discussions tells me senior officials did not think firing james comey would be a big political explosion.
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) May 9, 2017
UPDATE, 8:49pmEDT – NY Daily News: “FBI director James Comey found out from TV reports that he was fired as he spoke to employees in L.A., thought it was a prank”
UPDATE, 8:15pmEDT – On MSNBC, Sen. Elizabeth Warren pointed out that Comey testified that there were open investigations and , indirectly, that a probe of Trump could not be ruled out. “We need a special prosecutor right now! … Comey was fired because of the Russians.”
Raw Story: “In a statement, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he is ‘troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.'”
From Eric Swalwell’s Twitter feed:
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) May 9, 2017
UPDATE, 8:04pmEDT – From Claude Taylor’s Twitter feed:
Just in: From a highly placed source. Comey (as former Director) is testifying tomorrow/Thursday before Senate Committee in closed session.
— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) May 10, 2017
UPDATE, 8pmEST – From Vox:
Congressional Democrats are calling President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey a national crisis and demanding that a special prosecutor be appointed to continue the bureau’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia.
Comey confirmed the investigation into ties between Trump’s allies and the Russian government in testimony before Congress on March 20. And while Trump’s decision was attributed to the now former director’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and the president thanked Comey in his letter for repeatedly saying Trump personally was not under investigation, Democrats immediately connected the stunning news of Comey’s firing to the Russia probe.
“Were these investigations getting too close to home for the president?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters. He said he told Trump he was making “a big mistake” when the president told him Tuesday afternoon that he planned to fire Comey.
Referring to a previous pledge by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor at the right time, Schumer said, “That time is now.”
“The American people’s trust in our criminal justice system is in Mr. Rosenstein’s hands,” Schumer said. “This investigation must be run as far away from this White House and as far away as possible from anyone appointed by this president.”
UPDATE, 7:16pmEDT – From Sen. Brian Schatz’s Twitter feed:
We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) May 9, 2017
UPDATE, 7pmEDT – The Hill GOP has lost Joe Scarborough:
Republicans trying to whitewash this gross abuse of power, stop.
The President is trying to kill the investigation into his ties w/ Russia.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) May 9, 2017
UPDATE: At 6pmEDT, Chuck Todd read a portion of the firing letter given to Comey by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – the specific rationales were for conduct in 2016: “mistakes” surrounding the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, and what were characterized as inappropriate public relations and press conferences. Todd’s great “asnide”: “Don’t you fire people in August?”
Ten minutes earlier, NBC’s Pete Williams noted thatTrump used his firing letter to Comey to indirectly claim innocence in the Russiagate matter – and the White House the firing was made at the prompting of Jeff Sessions, a claim that pundits on both sides of the aisle on multiple cable news outlets find “implausible” and “laughable.”
The NY Times breaks the news with this updated report as of 5:54pmEDT:
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter dated Tuesday to Mr. Comey.
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Mr. Trump wrote.
Officials at the F.B.I. said they were not immediately aware of Mr. Comey’s dismissal.
In a separate letter released at the White House, Mr. Spicer said that the president informed the director that he has been “terminated and removed from office.”