President Trump fires the man leading the FBI investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
It was a decision advised by the attorney general who recused himself from any probe into possible Kremlin links because he falsely testified about his own contacts with Russia.
The White House says Comey’s sacking has nothing to do with Russia and everything to do with his mishandling of Hillary Clinton’s email investigation which left him unable to “effectively lead the bureau”.
It is time for a fresh start at the FBI, it says – with who knows who at the helm.
But the core of Trump’s rationale for firing Comey is the same thing he praised the former director for during his campaign, admiring the “guts” it took for him to reopen the investigation into Clinton’s emails just days before the election.
Democrats aren’t buying it – they say the Russian investigation is now in danger of becoming a charade.
During James Comey’s recent testimony at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the then FBI director could not say unequivocally that the president is not a target of the ongoing Russia investigation.
This is perhaps why, in his dismissal letter, Trump made very deliberate reference to Comey informing him “on three separate occasions” that he is not under investigation.
Trump’s opponents say he’s protesting too much.
James Comey reportedly thought his removal was a prank.
The former FBI director learned he’d been sacked from TV news coverage while addressing employees in LA.
This is only the second time in US history that a president has fired an FBI director.
An administration known for shock moves has surpassed itself.