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The sacking of James Comey: How it came about

David Martin
May 10, 2017

President Donald Trump's move to fire FBI Director James Comey has set off shock waves in Washington. From the probe into Hillary Clinton's emails to Trump's alleged Russia ties, we look at how it all got to this point.

Washington Senat Aussage FBI Director James Comey
Image: Reuters/K. Lamarque

US President Donald Trump caused a political earthquake when he fired FBI Director James Comey. He dismissed the man in charge with leading a probe into whether the Republican's campaign aides colluded with Moscow during the election.

Trump informed Comey in a letter that he was "not able to effectively lead the bureau."

- Trump fires FBI director Comey

The White House also released a memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, justifying the move. "I cannot defend the Director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken," Rosenstein said.

- Comey defends pre-election Clinton email decision

The Trump administration said its search for a new FBI director would begin immediately.

It is only the second time in the FBI's 109-year history that a director has been dismissed. The first time, in 1993, saw then-President Bill Clinton sack William Sessions over alleged ethical lapses.

-Opinion: A hint of Watergate

Comey received numerous stinging rebukes from Republicans and Democrats alike during his time as FBI Director. However, his tenure will be remembered namely for the bureau's investigation into Hillary Clinton and the Trump's campaign's alleged ties to Russia.

- Congress awaits FBI testimony on Trump-Russia links

President Trump sacks FBI Director Comey – Q & A with Steven Fish, professor of political science