Sources Say Trump's Anger With Comey Was 'White Hot'

As Comey releases a farewell letter to some FBI staff
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2017 5:18 AM CDT
Comey Praises Independence in Letter to FBI Staff
Protester listen during a vigil in St. Louis to denounce the decision by President Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey.   (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

Fired FBI chief James Comey sent a farewell letter to selected staffers Wednesday and he urged them not to dwell on the reasons for his abrupt departure. "I have long believed that a president can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all," he writes in the letter, which was obtained by CNN. He said he will miss them—and the mission—deeply and calls for the FBI to remain "as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence" that the American people can look to in "times of turbulence." In other developments:

  • Sources tell the Washington Post that President Trump had been growing increasingly angry about what he viewed as Comey's disloyalty and he made up his mind to fire him over the weekend. The sources say Trump wasn't happy that although his administration had urged the FBI to look into leaks to the press, Comey seemed to be talking about Russia every time he appeared in the media.
  • The Post's sources also say that on Tuesday night, as Trump viewed cable news coverage of the firing while eating his dinner, he was angered by the fact that nobody seemed to be defending his decision.

  • Hillary Clinton believes Comey's action played a role in her loss to Trump, but she didn't celebrate his firing, sources tell the New York Times. The sources say she is worried that the firing will derail the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia, and she believes "taking him out of his job at this point only reinforces the point that he was on to something."
  • CNN's sources say Trump's anger at Comey was "white hot" in the days before the firing and unlike with many decisions, he did not seek a wide range of opinions before making the call.
  • Politico reports that a partisan battle is brewing over the search for a Comey successor, who must be confirmed by the Senate. Democratic senators say they won't support a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is appointed to look into the Russia issue, while Republicans want to have a new director in place quickly.
  • Republicans are divided over the firing, with some defending the decision and others calling for an explanation and for an independent panel to investigate the Russia links, the Hill reports. One of the fiercest critics was Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is rumored to be considering a 2020 Republican primary challenge to Trump.
(Before his firing, Comey reportedly asked for more resources to expand the Russia investigation.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.