James Comey is only the second director in the FBI's storied history to be fired. In the year leading up to his President Trump's abrupt firing, he was at the center of two controversial investigations: the probe into Hillary Clinton's emails, and the ongoing investigation into whether Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia during the election. So how did we get here? Let's take a look back at the key moments of leading up to Comey's recent FBI controversies. Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/05/09/how-did-we-get-here-james-comey-timeline/101488160/ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/05/09/comey-timeline-everything-that-led-up-to-his-firing/?utm_term=.cea03328f970
President Obama appointed Comey as the seventh director of the FBI. His career included time in the private sector as well as a tenure as deputy attorney general under President George. W. Bush. Succeeding former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Comey was confirmed by the Senate for a full 10-year-term.
"I must be out of my mind to be following Bob Mueller,"’ he said at the time. "I don't know if I can fill those shoes, but I know that, however I do, I will be standing truly on the shoulders of a giant."
With the 2016 presidential primaries in full swing, the FBI confirmed it was investigating Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of State.
The FBI contacted Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, with questions about the security of a thumb drive in his possession that contains copies of work e-mails Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state.
The FBI’s interest in Clinton’s e-mail system comes after the intelligence community’s inspector general referred the issue to the Justice Department in July. Intelligence officials expressed concern that some sensitive information was not in the government’s possession and could be “compromised.” The referral did not accuse Clinton of any wrongdoing, and the two officials said that the FBI is not targeting her.
The inquiries by the FBI follow concerns from government officials that potentially hundreds of e-mails that passed through Clinton’s private server contained classified or sensitive information. At this point, the probe is preliminary and is focused on ensuring the proper handling of classified material.
President Obama's attorney general, Loretta Lynch, said she would accept the recommendations from the FBI and career prosecutors on the Clinton email case.
Ms. Lynch said she had decided this spring to defer to the recommendations of her staff and the F.B.I. because her status as a political appointee sitting in judgment on a politically charged case would raise questions of a conflict of interest. But the meeting with Mr. Clinton, she acknowledged, had deepened those questions, and she said she now felt compelled to explain publicly her reasoning to try to put the concerns to rest.
The decision comes after Lynch came under fire for having a private meeting early this week with Clinton’s husband, former president Bill Clinton, during a chance encounter at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.
I will be accepting their recommendations and their plan going forward,” she said, adding that she felt bad that the meeting has “cast a shadow over how people are going to view that work, something I take seriously.”
Lynch and other Justice Department officials said she had already decided to abide by prosecutors’ and the FBI’s recommendation in the case. Given Lynch’s background as a career prosecutor, it was unlikely that she would have use her authority to overrule the FBI anyway, an action that would have undoubtedly leaked and triggered a political backlash.
But the poor appearance surrounding the meeting with Bill Clinton led Lynch to publicly announce her decision in an attempt to quell the controversy and restore public faith in the probe.
Clinton was interviewed by the FBI for 3.5 hours.
Hillary Clinton was interviewed by the FBI about her use of a private email server as secretary of state, as federal investigators neared the end of the probe that has hung over her presidential campaign.
Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, gave a voluntary interview for 3 1/2 hours on Saturday morning at FBI Headquarters in Washington, her campaign said.
“She is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the Department of Justice in bringing this review to a conclusion,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said. “Out of respect for the investigative process, she will not comment further on her interview.”
The interview was expected and it does not suggest that she or anyone else is likely to face prosecution. Some legal experts view criminal prosecution as exceedingly unlikely. The interview may indicate that the Justice Department’s yearlong probe is drawing to a close.
But the ongoing investigation represents a major risk for Democrats as Clinton is merely four weeks away from being formally nominated as the party’s presidential candidate.
Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, has seized on the email issue and repeatedly said the probe undermines Clinton’s fitness for office. Trump has called his opponent, “Crooked Hillary,” and said she cannot be trusted in the White House.
Comey called Clinton's server "extremely careless," but gave a news conference in which he explained that Clinton would not be prosecuted.
FBI Director James Comey said that he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her use of private email servers while secretary of state, removing a huge shadow hovering over her presidential campaign.
But Comey administered an extraordinary tongue-lashing to Clinton and her aides, rebuking them for being "extremely careless" in the handling of classified information and saying the presumptive Democratic nominee should have known an unclassified email system was no place to conduct sensitive government business.
The FBI director pointed out that the probe was tasked with examining whether Clinton or her aides had mishandled classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way.
"Our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case," Comey announced after a lengthy recap of the investigation apparently designed to protect the integrity of his agency in a highly charged political atmosphere.
In a brief written statement, Attorney General, Lynch said, she accepted the F.B.I.’s recommendation that no one be charged in the case, which has engulfed Mrs. Clinton’s presidential ambitions for more than a year.
“I received and accepted their unanimous recommendation that the thorough, year-long investigation be closed and that no charges be brought against any individuals within the scope of the investigation,” Mrs. Lynch said.
The attorney general said she met with James B. Comey, the director of the F.B.I., and other prosecutors and agents on Wednesday afternoon before closing the case. Ms. Lynch had promised to accept the F.B.I. recommendations after creating a political furor by meeting on her airplane last week for 30 minutes with former President Bill Clinton.
FBI Director James Comey staunchly defended his decision not to recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of private email servers while secretary of State Thursday, telling a House panel that the decision was based on an “apolitical’’ review of nearly a century of case law.
In his first public remarks since announcing the recommendation Tuesday, Comey told a politically divided House Oversight and Government Reform Committee over the course of more than four hours of intense questioning that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee did not lie to FBI agents, did not break the law and that the decision not to proceed with criminal charges was the unanimous assessment of a group of investigators and analysts whom the director described as an “all-star team’’ assembled by the Justice Department.
In his opening statement, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, accused Comey of setting a "dangerous" precedent that will allow officials to "sloppily" handle classified information with "no consequence."
Chaffetz said Comey's determination that charges weren't warranted in the case sent a message that "if your name isn't Clinton or you aren't part of the powerful elite ... Lady Justice will act differently" toward you.
"The decision was made and the recommendation was made the way you would want it to be, by people who didn't give a hoot about politics but who cared about what are the facts, what is the law and how have similar people -— all people —- been treated in the past," Comey told the House panel.
In explaining his decision, Comey said two things matter in a criminal probe: "What did the person do ... and when they did it, did they know they were doing something that was unlawful?"
Comey wrote a memo to his employees, defending his recommendation. Comey offered the latest defense of his decision not to recommend criminal charges in the now-closed investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server in a colorful memo to bureau employees.
"Those suggesting that we are 'political' or part of some 'fix' either don't know us, or they are full of baloney (and maybe some of both),'' the director wrote.
He said the ultimate decision not to recommend charges "was not a cliffhanger; despite all the chest-beating by people no longer in the government, there really wasn't a prosecutable case.''
The full memo: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2016/images/09/07/comey2.pdf
Appearing during a congressional oversight hearing, Comey once again defended his recommendation not to charge Clinton.
"You can call us wrong, but don’t call us weasels. We are not weasels," Comey said. "Whether or not you agree with the result, this was done the way you want it to be done."
Comey announced that new emails has been discovered on the laptop of former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and that messages may be related to the Clinton probe. His announcement came 11 days before Election Day.
Those new emails were discovered during an FBI investigation in which the devices of former Congressman Anthony Weiner and Clinton aide Huma Abedin were seized. While examining Weiner's laptop, investigators discovered Abedin also used the laptop, which contained some emails between Abedin and Clinton.
In a letter sent to members of Congress on Friday, Comey said new emails had been discovered in an “unrelated” case.
“In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the investigation,” Comey wrote. “I am writing to inform you that the investigative team briefed me on this yesterday, and I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.”
Comey added: “Although the FBI cannot yet assess whether or not this material may be significant and I cannot predict how long it will take to complete this additional work, I believe it is important to update your Committees about our efforts in light of my previous testimony.”
Just over a week after FBI Director James Comey rolled a grenade into the presidential race by announcing the arrival of new evidence in the Hillary Clinton email probe, he offered what amounted to a "never mind" Sunday, notifying Congress that the newly discovered messages wouldn't change the bureau's conclusion that no prosecution of Clinton was warranted.
In a letter sent to House and Senate committee leaders, Comey said FBI agents had completed their review of all messages to or from Clinton on a laptop seized last month from the estranged husband of a Clinton aide and had found nothing momentous.
"Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton," Comey wrote. "I am very grateful to the professionals at the FBI for doing an extraordinary amount of high-quality work in a short-period of time."
The disclosure, just two days before Election Day, could undercut a boost Donald Trump appeared to enjoy in some polls taken after Comey's disclosure late last month about the newly-discovered set of email message
The head of the FBI publicly challenged U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday, denying the Republican's claim that former president Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 election campaign and confirming his agency had launched a criminal investigation into any collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.
FBI Director James Comey told a congressional hearing he had seen no evidence to support a claim by Trump that Obama had wiretapped his campaign headquarters in Manhattan's Trump Tower.
"With respect to the president's tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets," Comey told the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee hearing.
The committee is investigating accusations that Russia tried to influence the election mostly by hacking Democratic operatives' emails and releasing embarrassing information. Russia denies the allegations.
Comey confirmed the FBI has been investigating since last July possible Russian government efforts to interfere in the election, including any links between Trump's campaign and Moscow. He said that while the Russian government wanted to hurt Clinton's campaign and help Trump's, intelligence agencies made no judgment on whether the efforts influenced the outcome.
Comey made another trip to the Hill, defending his Oct. 28, 2016, decision to publicly announce the emails found on Weiner's laptop.
"It makes me mildly nauseous that we would have had an impact on the election," Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee.
During the hearing, Comey said "hundreds and thousands" of emails had ended up on Weiner's laptop because of Clinton aide Huma Abedin. He said Abedin made "regular practice" of forwarding emails to her husband, Weiner.
He also said he was confident in the FBI’s handling of an ongoing probe of any contacts between Russian officials and associates of President Trump.
Through nearly four hours of sometimes combative questioning from Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey offered his most full-throated explanation of his actions to date, and he never wavered from his core contention — that the FBI has stayed above the political fray even as its investigators probed senior aides to both the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates.
“Lordy, has this been painful,” he said. “I’ve gotten all kinds of rocks thrown at me and this has been really hard, but I think I’ve done the right thing at each turn.”
FBI Director James Comey's testimony that a top Hillary Clinton aide forwarded "hundreds and thousands" of emails involving her boss was wrong, according to a letter the bureau sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
Last week, Comey testified before a Senate committee that Huma Abedin made a "regular practice" of forwarding messages involving Clinton – some of which contained classified information – to her husband, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. As Comey explained, the top Clinton aide did this so Weiner could print them out.
But FBI officials told ProPublica, which first reported the story, that Comey misstated Abedin's actions.
After the news broke, the FBI sent a letter to the committee clarifying that about 49,000 emails potentially relevant to the investigation into Clinton's use of a private emails server were found on Weiner's laptop. A majority of them ended up on the computer because of backups from Abedin's personal electronic devices.
However, only a "small number" of the emails were forwarded by Abedin, the letter said, even though she "commonly forwarded emails to others who would print documents for her." Of those forwarded to Weiner, only two email chains contained classified information. Ten other email chains that had classified information were on the laptop because of backups.
What's more, all 12 email chains had been previously reviewed by investigators, the letter said.
Hours later, the White House announced that Comey had been fired.
Comey appears with NSA Director Mike Rogers, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. and CIA Director John Brennan in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee to talk about Russia’s alleged interference in the U.S. election. Comey refuses to confirm that the FBI is looking into Trump team’s ties to Russia.
President-elect Trump informs Comey that it is his intention to keep him on as FBI director.
FBI rejects requests from the Trump administration to knock down news reports concerning communications between the Trump campaign and Russia known to US intelligence during the 2016 presidential campaign, multiple US officials briefed on the matter.
But a White House official said that the request was only made after the FBI indicated to the White House it did not believe the reporting to be accurate.
The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations.
FBI Director James B. Comey asked the Justice Department this weekend to issue a statement refuting President Trump’s claim that President Barack Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump’s phones before the election, according to U.S. officials, but the department did not do so.
Comey made the request Saturday after Trump accused Obama on Twitter of having his “ ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower.” The White House expanded on Trump’s comments Sunday with a call for a congressional probe of his allegations.
Mr. Comey’s request is a remarkable rebuke of a sitting president, putting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the position of questioning Mr. Trump’s truthfulness. The confrontation between the two is the most serious consequence of Mr. Trump’s weekend Twitter outburst, and it underscores the dangers of what the president and his aides have unleashed by accusing the former president of a conspiracy to undermine Mr. Trump’s young administration.
President Trump stunned the political world by firing FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, an abrupt ending to a tenure marked by political controversies ranging from the Trump campaign's connections to Russia to Hillary Clinton's handling of classified emails.
Trump ignited a political firestorm by firing FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign's possible collusion with Russia to influence the election outcome.
Basing his decision on the recommendations from both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Trump said in a statement that "the FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement."
The search for a new permanent FBI director will begin immediately, the White House said.
What was not thought through, apparently, was an explanation of why Comey was fired now, at a time when critics would immediately conclude it was because of the Russia probe.
Some Democrats compared Trump's move to the "Saturday Night Massacre" of 1973, in which President Richard Nixon fired an independent special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal.
White House officials denied allegations that there was any political motive in the move by Trump, who took office on Jan. 20.
Comey learned of his dismissal from televisions tuned to the news, as he was addressing the workforce at the FBI office in Los Angeles, law enforcement sources said. The source said he made a joke about it to lighten the mood and called his office to get confirmation.
In a letter to Comey, the president wrote: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau.
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
Former FBI Director James Comey requested more resources for his investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 US election just days before President Donald Trump suddenly fired him.
Sources said that Mr Comey had asked the Justice Department for a "significant increase" in resources to speed up the probe. The request was directed to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who later wrote the memo that has widely been regarded as providing the primary argument for Mr Comey's sacking.
The top two senators in the Senate Intelligence Committee, before Mr Comey's firing, reportedly asked him Monday to speed up the investigation into Russian election meddling. Mr Comey acknowledged to Senator Richard Burr, a Republican, and Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat, that the investigation was moving slowly, according to CNN.
“I’m told that as soon as Rosenstein arrived, there was a request for additional resources for the investigation and that a few days afterwards, he was sacked,” said Mr. Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois. “I think the Comey operation was breathing down the neck of the Trump campaign and their operatives, and this was an effort to slow down the investigation.”
The timing of Mr. Comey’s request is not clear-cut evidence that his firing was related to the Russia investigation. But it is certain to fuel bipartisan criticism that President Trump appeared to be meddling in an investigation that had the potential to damage his presidency.