Donald Trump fired James Comey because of the Russia investigations

Donald Trump was so enraged that the FBI was investigating him that he would scream at the TV over it

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 10, 2017 11:14AM (EDT)

 (AP/Jim Mone/Reuters/Carlos Barria)
(AP/Jim Mone/Reuters/Carlos Barria)

The political world was rocked by President Donald Trump's surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday. As more information leaks about what went on behind the scenes prior to, during, and after Comey's termination, one fact becomes clear — the president acted as he did because Comey wouldn't stop investigating the Russia scandal.

Although the White House claims that it fired Comey over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, the president's letter to Comey didn't mention that investigation, instead mentioning the probe into Trump's ties with Russia. Even there, the language of the letter — particularly the part where Trump writes that "I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." — strongly suggests that the goal here was for the president to exonerate himself.

News reports back up the suggestion that Trump was motivated by anger at the FBI's pursuit of an investigation into his Russia ties. Sources told Politico that Trump's rage at the ongoing investigation would cause him to badger staffers into publicly defending him and scream at television clips that discussed the scandal. He was particularly incensed when Comey testified to the Senate that the FBI was investigating his presidential campaign, and was angered by Comey's refusal to back up Trump's unproved allegation that he was wiretapped by President Barack Obama's administration.

The criticism of Trump's decision has come from both parties. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts appeared on MSNBC to call for a special prosecutor, arguing that "if there is a relationship between Trump, his campaign and the Russians, the American people need to know about that. And if it is not lawful, or was not lawful, we also need to know about that. No one in America is above the law, and that includes Donald Trump."

Meanwhile a Republican member of the House of Representatives, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, tweeted on Tuesday that he and his staff would try to create an independent commission to investigate the Russia scandal.

In related news, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria, Virginia, sent out subpoenas on Tuesday for business records of individuals who worked with Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn when he was a private citizen.


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By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump James Comey Partner Video Russia Russiagate