Four reasons stand out for President Trump’s May 9 firing of FBI Director James Comey. These are based on Trump’s words, previous behavior and the logic of the timing.
- Trump was angry Comey didn’t exonerate him of his ties to the Russians related to the 2016 campaign. In fact, Comey refused to answer the questions and cited an ongoing investigation. Trump believes the ongoing investigation is a hoax and waste of resources. Tellingly in the firing letter, Trump claims he was told on three occasions there was no connection between him and the Russian investigation. If true, probably a violation of FBI procedures, but at least confirming evidence Trump is most concerned about the investigation.
- Trump was angry that Comey didn’t back up his claim that the Obama administration wire tapped him. Trump would have accepted most any vague statement as validation, but Comey was definitive that there was no spying on Trump by Barack Obama.
- Comey failed to focus sufficient attention on what Trump believes is the greatest threat to the nation – leaks. Trump made clear leaks should be the FBI’s priority, not Russia.
- Comey was high-profile and on the Hill much too high. As Steve Bannon can attest, don’t get more famous than the boss. Comey’s position was excessively useful for ambitious Senate and Hill members that wanted good hearing news coverage. Better to bring in someone with less history or knowledge of the Russian issue.
|President Donald Trump shakes hands with former FBI Director James Comey | Getty|