WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Trump and Comey's ups and downs
02:09 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

FBI Director James Comey was fired abruptly Tuesday by President Donald Trump, and the White House has scrambled since then to explain how Trump reached his decision.

Here’s a look at what led to Comey’s firing and what’s happened in the aftermath:

May 2

CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour moderates a discussion with former Secretary of State and 2016 US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during the Women for Women International annual fundraising luncheon in New York on Tuesday, May 2, 2017. The not-for-profit organization enables and empowers women around the world to be involved in and play critical roles in conflict resolution, peace negotiations, humanitarian response, and in post-conflict rebuilding. It is based on the proven fact that the inclusion of women leads to a more peaceful and stable world. Photograph: Timothy Fadek
Clinton blames Comey, Russia for election loss
02:03 - Source: CNN

Hillary Clinton says she was on her way to winning the presidency until the FBI director wrote a letter to Congress saying he was reopening the investigation into her use of a private email server 11 days before the November 8 election.

Trump tweets a response that night: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!”

Trump adds the investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, which Comey confirmed during a March 20 hearing in the House, was “an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.”

May 3

james comey hearing
Comey: 'Nauseous' over election thoughts
00:29 - Source: CNN

Comey, testifying before senators in a committee hearing, says he’s “mildly nauseous” at the idea he influenced the election when he reopened the Clinton email investigation. Still, he defended his decision to do so.

At the time, Trump said that Comey’s decision “took guts” and that the FBI chief “brought back his reputation” by reopening the investigation.

In his testimony, Comey says he publicly announced his conclusions in the Clinton email investigation after deciding the Justice Department’s credibility had been affected by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s airport tarmac meeting with former President Bill Clinton.

Comey adds the Russians are still meddling in US politics because they may have concluded, “This works.”

At the daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer says Trump “has confidence” in Comey.

Sometime last week

Richard Durbin May 10 2017 01
Durbin believes Comey requested more resources
01:23 - Source: CNN

Comey asks the Justice Department for more resources for the investigation into Russian meddling in the US election, according to two sources familiar with the discussion. A Justice Department spokeswoman denies Comey did so.

May 8

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 26:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks before signing the Education Federalism Executive Order that will pull the federal government out of K-12 education, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, on April 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Trump tweets: Russia-Trump collusion a hoax
01:11 - Source: CNN

Trump tweets the investigation into Russia’s possible collusion with his campaign is a “total hoax” and a “taxpayer funded charade.”

May 9

FBI Director James Comey testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON        (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump fires FBI Director James Comey
00:58 - Source: CNN

Trump fires Comey, effective immediately. In his dismissal letter, Trump cites a recommendation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote in an attached memo that Comey’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s email server was to blame.

That evening, Spicer, sandwiched between reporters and a large shrub in the White House driveway, says Trump arrived at his decision after receiving the memo from Rosenstein that day.

CNN reports that federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former national security adviser Michael Flynn as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the election. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before Comey’s firing.

May 10

trump oval photo
WH furious after photos released with Russians
01:41 - Source: CNN

In a morning “tweetstorm,” Trump says Democrats have wanted Comey gone for a while and are now faking outrage at his firing.

“Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!”

In a photo-op with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Trump says he fired Comey “because he wasn’t doing a good job.”

The same day, Trump meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office, but the White House blocks US media from photographing the event. Russian state-sponsored media post photos of the meeting, angering a White House official.

Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Comey committed “basic atrocities” by going around the Justice Department chain of command and speaking out during the Clinton email investigation. She also says Trump had considered letting Comey go as early as Election Day.

Sanders adds that Trump “and the rest of the FBI” had lost confidence in Comey.

May 11

Andrew McCabe May 12 2017 01
McCabe: Comey has broad support within FBI
01:36 - Source: CNN

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe tells members of the Senate intelligence committee that Comey had “broad support” among the FBI’s rank and file, contradicting the White House.

“The majority, the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey,” he says.

Trump, in an interview with NBC News, says he had already decided to fire Comey before receiving Rosenstein’s recommendation.

“Regardless of the recommendation I was going to fire Comey,” Trump tells NBC.

Trump also says he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he made the decision.

“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’.”

May 16

Comey wrote in a memo that Trump asked him to end the investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Comey was so appalled by the request that he wanted to document it, sources said. Comey shared the memo with senior FBI officials, according to sources.

“I hope you can let this go,” the President said, Comey wrote. CNN has not viewed the memo but sources described it to CNN.

The memo is the clearest sign yet of potential interference by Trump with the investigation into whether members of his campaign team colluded with Russian officials.

“Three words: obstruction of justice,” said CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “Telling the FBI director to close down an investigation of your senior campaign adviser for his activities during your campaign for president, if that’s true, that is obstruction of justice.”