Trump fires James Comey with help from Rod Rosenstein

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein releases a Justice Department memo calling for the termination of James Comey as FBI director. Donald Trump fires Comey the same day.

Just days later, Trump himself reveals in an interview with NBC News that he was already firing Comey before Rosenstein wrote the memo. (Rosenstein later confirms to lawmakers that, yes, he knew Comey would be fired before writing the memo.)

The White House sent out person after person—including the Vice President—to insist that Rosenstein’s memo constituted the basis for the President’s action against the FBI director. The White House described a bottoms-up dissatisfaction with Comey’s leadership, which Rosenstein’s memo encapsulated and to which the President acceded. And then, just as casually as Trump and his people set Rosenstein up as the bad guy for what was obviously a presidential decision into whose service Rosenstein had been enlisted, Trump revealed that Rosenstein was, after all, nothing more than a set piece.


According to the memo, Comey’s termination will be the result of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Trump says it’s about the Russia investigation.

LESTER HOLT: Monday you met with the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosen—Rosenstein


LESTER HOLT: Did you ask for a recommendation?

DONALD TRUMP: Uh what I did is I was going to fire Comey—my decision, it was not–

LESTER HOLT: You had made the decision before they came in the room?

DONALD TRUMP: I—I was going to fire Comey. Uh I—there’s no good time to do it by the way. Uh they—they were–

LESTER HOLT: Because you letter you said I—I, I accepted their recommendation, so you had already made the decision.

DONALD TRUMP: Oh I was gonna fire regardless of recommendation.

LESTER HOLT: So there was–

DONALD TRUMP: He made—he made a recommendation, he’s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy, uh the Democrats like him, the Republicans like him, uh he made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing, there was no good time to do it. And in fact when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story, it’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein


Photo: Public Domain

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