MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Trump administration is defending the president’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey but the backlash has been much stronger than they anticipated.
Demonstrators protested outside the White House following President Trump’s firing of Comey.
“Because he wasn’t doing a good job, very simply. He was not doing a good job,” said Trump.
The White House said it was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s recommendation to fire Comey because of how he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server but now they say it has been a long time coming.
“He had lost confidence in Director Comey and frankly, he had been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
But multiple news organizations are now reporting the reason for comedy’s firing was because the president became increasingly angry about comedy’s public comments on the Russia investigation…
In particular, this quote from Comey: “It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had an impact on the election.”
That, apparently, was it. Any suggestion that Trump didn’t win fair and square seems to enrage him.
And it was after watching the Sunday shows from his estate in New Jersey this weekend that the president decided Comey had to go. “Something’s wrong with him,” he reportedly told his top aides.
CNN quotes Comey confidants as saying “he was fired because the president didn’t feel he was loyal and that his russia probe was accelerating.”
Democrats said the president had ulterior motives for firing Comey.
“He was likely fired because he was getting closer to the truth about the connection between the Trump campaign and Russia,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).
Trump later took to Twitter to criticize Dems for their reaction.
Sources told CBS News Comey had approached Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week to ask for more resources, energy and attention for the Russia investigation. It’s a claim the Department of Justice denies.
Democrats now say the FBI investigation needs to be taken out of the Department of Justice.
“We need a special prosecutor to pick up the criminal investigation and we need to pursue, to the very end, the investigation in the Senate Intelligence Committee,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr said he will continue to lead the Senate investigation but says Director Comey’s firing makes it harder.
“I think the timing and the reasoning incites people to believe that there is something being covered up,” said Sen Burr.
Comey has been invited to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week. He has not yet responded to the request to testify. If he does so, it is expected to take place behind closed doors.
Late Wednesday evening, Comey sent a farewell letter to his colleagues at the bureau.