He added, “He’s a showboat”. “The FBI has been in turmoil. I believe you, and others, will attest to when we don’t have an answer, we try really hard to either update you after the fact or to get you the facts that we didn’t have at the time”.
Meanwhile, the acting head of the FBI said there had been no effort by the White House to date to impede the agency’s investigation into Russian Federation.
“It hasn’t recovered from that”, Trump explained why he wanted to fire Comey.
“It is my opinion and belief that the FBI will continue to pursue this investigation vigorously and completely”, he said.
Here is a timeline of explanations provided by the White House and the President since Tuesday. “Doing away with briefings would reduce accountability, transparency, and the opportunity for Americans to see that, in the U.S. system, no political figure is above being questioned”, Jeff Mason, WHCA president said in a statement. But Comey did not need to do that.
The 56-year-old was nominated to the position with a 10-year term by former President Barack Obama in 2013.
White House officials, however, have rejected such comparisons, and, echoing their boss, say the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible nefarious ties to his campaign is a minor matter on the bureau’s docket.
Soon after tweeting the threat to Comey, Trump invoked former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who testified before the Senate earlier this week that he was not aware of any evidence demonstrating collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian Federation. As such, a change in leadership was necessary to rebuild trust between the White House and law enforcement.
McCabe said he thinks the probe is “adequately resourced” and noted the FBI normally would not ask for more resources for a single investigation. According to this version, Mr Trump had in recent weeks been “strongly inclined to remove” Mr Comey. Multiple officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, said the president was acting at the behest of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Both he and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were put in a tough spot by Trump’s own evolving story over the last few days, struggling to reconcile what they’d seemingly been told earlier (and Trump’s own letter to Comey saying he’d taken the advice of the DOJ to fire him) with Trump’s Wednesday comments.
Trump dismissed the FBI director citing his handling of the probe into Hillary Clinton’s emails, but opponents suspect his ouster was a bid to stall the Russian Federation investigation, which is also looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Trump’s team. He promised he would tolerate no interference from the White House and would not provide the administration with updates on its progress.
Trump aides had insisted in the aftermath of Comey’s surprise dismissal that the president had gone ahead with the firing based on the recommendations of his deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.
NPR’s Jessica Taylor contributed.