AP FACT CHECK: Searching for law in Trump-FBI tumult

On May 9, Donald Trump became a second United States boss to glow a executive of a FBI. Naturally, Americans wanted to know: Why?

The accurate answer remained fugitive over a march of 3 days following a announcement. Trump and his White House gave numerous, paradoxical explanations for James B. Comey’s firing.

As a open service, we gathered a timeline of a changeable tongue by Trump and his staff. We will refurbish this list as necessary.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017: Trump acted on the deputy profession general’s recommendation

The strange reason from Trump and his White House was that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions initiated Comey’s firing. In a letter to Sessions, Rosenstein criticized Comey’s doing of a FBI’s review into Hillary Clinton’s private email server use as secretary of state. He did not categorically call for his dismissal.

Sessions forwarded a minute to Trump, recommending he mislay Comey: “Based on my evaluation, and for a reasons voiced by a Deputy Attorney General in a trustworthy memorandum, we have resolved that a uninformed start is indispensable during a care of a FBI.”

Trump afterwards wrote a minute to Comey, observant he was behaving on their recommendation. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer expelled a matter with a same message.

White House comparison confidant Kellyanne Conway echoed it on CNN: “I would indicate them to a 3 letters that were perceived today, Anderson [Cooper]: The minute by President Donald Trump, a minute by Attorney General Sessions, and really, a underlying news by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who a FBI executive reports to.”

At a news lecture after that night, Spicer done it transparent that a preference was done by DOJ and Rosenstein. From a co-worker Jenna Johnson’s dispatch:

As Spicer tells it, Rosenstein was reliable about dual weeks ago and exclusively took on this emanate so a boss was not wakeful of a examine until he perceived a memo from Rosenstein on Tuesday, along with a minute from Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommending that Comey be fired. The boss afterwards quickly motionless to follow a recommendation, notifying a FBI around email around 5 p.m. and in a minute delivered to a FBI by a president’s longtime bodyguard. At a same time, a boss privately called congressional leaders to let them know his decision. Comey schooled a news from media reports.

“It was all him,” Spicer pronounced of Rosenstein, as a contributor steady his answer behind to him. “That’s scold — we mean, we can’t, we theory we shouldn’t contend that, appreciate we for a assistance on that one. No one from a White House. That was a DOJ decision.”

Wednesday, May 10, 2017: Trump had deliberate banishment Comey for months, though acted on DOJ’s recommendations

The successive day, White House mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested Trump indeed asked for a recommendation of Rosenstein and Sessions. Trump had been losing certainty in Comey for months and had been deliberation banishment him given Election Day, she said: “But he did have a review with a emissary profession ubiquitous on Monday where they had come to him to demonstrate their concerns. The boss asked that they put those concerns and their recommendation in writing, that is a minute that we guys have received.”

CNN’s Jonathan Karl asked Sanders: “Isn’t it loyal that a boss had already motionless to glow James Comey and he asked a Justice Department to put together a motive for that firing?”

Sanders answered: “No. … The final preference to pierce brazen with it was yesterday. But we know that he’s been considering it for a while.”

Vice President Pence repeatedly told reporters that Trump motionless to act on a recommendations by Rosenstein and Sessions, and that Rosenstein exclusively had motionless to control an review of Comey’s doing of a Clinton probe:

Separately, Trump told reporters that he dismissed Comey “because he wasn’t doing a good job. Very simple. He wasn’t doing a good job.”

Later that day, a White House expelled an “official timeline” of Trump’s decision-making process:

  • “The President, over a final several months, mislaid certainty in Director Comey.
  • After examination Director Comey’s testimony final Wednesday [May 3, 2017], a President was strongly prone to mislay him.
  • On Monday [May 8, 2017], a President met with a Attorney General and a Deputy Attorney General and they discussed reasons for stealing a Director.
  • The successive day, Tuesday May 9, a Deputy Attorney General sent his created recommendation to a Attorney General and a Attorney General sent his created recommendation to a President.”

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Then, that evening, The Washington Post’s Sari Horwitz reported that Rosenstein “threatened to renounce after a account rising from a White House on Tuesday dusk expel him as a primary inciter of a preference to glow Comey and that a boss acted usually on his recommendation.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017: Trump designed to glow Comey regardless of a DOJ’s recommendations

The boss afterwards contradicted his staff’s progressing comments. In a preview video shave of his interview with NBC News, Trump pronounced he designed to glow Comey all along, regardless of Department of Justice recommendations:

Lester Holt: “Monday, we met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Did we ask for a recommendation?”
Trump: “What we did was, we was going to fire. My decision.”
Holt: “You’d done a preference before they came into a room?”
Trump: “I was going to glow Comey. There’s no time to do it.”
Holt: “In your letter, we said, ‘I accept their recommendation.’ ”
Trump: “Oh, we was going to fire, regardless of recommendation. He done a recommendation, he’s rarely reputable — really good guy, really intelligent guy. And a Democrats like him, Republicans like him. He done a recommendation, though regardless of recommendation, we was going to glow Comey.”

The Wall Street Journal reported that Rosenstein “pressed White House warn Don McGahn to scold what he felt was an false White House depiction of a events surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s firing, according to a chairman informed with a conversation. … The emissary profession ubiquitous objected to statements by White House aides citing Mr. Rosenstein’s vicious comment of Mr. Comey’s pursuit opening to clear a firing.” 

In a successive news briefing, Sanders simplified her comments from a prior day. Trump’s Monday assembly with Rosenstein and Sessions “reaffirmed” what Trump already was formulation to do, she said.

Later on Thursday, NBC aired its full talk with Trump. In it, Trump offering nonetheless another reason for banishment Comey: The FBI’s investigation into Russia’s division in a 2016 presidential election. (Sanders had hinted during this progressing in a day, observant a White House believed that by stealing Comey, it took stairs to make certain a FBI’s Russia review would “come to a end with integrity.”)

Trump: “When we motionless to only do it, we pronounced to myself, we said, we know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an forgive by a Democrats for carrying mislaid an choosing that they should have won. … So everybody was thinking, they should have won a election. This was an forgive for carrying mislaid an election.”


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