Fact Checker: The facts we know so far about President Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director

The facts we know so far about President Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director There was bombshell news this week: President Trump fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, becoming the second United States president to ever do so. There are so many questions about the firing, but not many concrete …
 
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The facts we know so far about President Trump’s firing of James Comey as FBI director There was bombshell news this week: President Trump fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, becoming the second United States president to ever do so. There are so many questions about the firing, but not many concrete facts yet. So we sorted through some of the key questions and inconsistencies that arose from the firing of James B. Comey. Did Comey really tell Trump he wasn’t under FBI investigation?  There was an unusual line in Trump’s letter firing Comey: “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.” It raised many questions: When did this happen? Who raised the question? And would this type of conversation have been appropriate? Since we don’t know for sure what happened in their private conversations, we contacted former attorneys general to get the necessary context. Here’s what they said: Alberto Gonzales, attorney general, 2005-2007 (George W. Bush): “I don’t know if it in fact happened. It’s hard for me to think of a situation where it might be appropriate,” Gonzales said. He said that, if asked by the president about such a probe, the best response would be: “I can’t answer that question and it would be wise for us to not have this discussion.” He said that because the investigation had not been completed, “how would he [Comey] know where he would end up with the investigation?” William P. Barr, attorney general, 1991-1993 (George H.W. Bush): “The President is the chief law enforcement officer and it is perfectly appropriate for the Attorney General to discuss cases with the President that don’t touch on the President himself,” Barr said. “For example, I discussed the Pan Am 103 case with the President.” But he added: “I don’t know the scope or current thrust of the Russian investigation. Comey would know.” Enjoy this newsletter? Forward it to someone else who’d like it! If this e-mail was forwarded to you, sign up here for the weekly newsletter. Hear something fact-checkable? Send it here, we’ll check it out. 
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All the conflicting explanations for Comey firing from Trump and White House So exactly why did the president fire Comey? Seems like a simple question, but the answer remained elusive for days following the news. Trump and his White House staff gave numerous explanations, contradicting each other. We compiled a timeline to sort through it. Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, May 9. The reason, according to Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White house staff: Trump acted on the deputy attorney general’s recommendation. Then, on Wednesday, May 10, the story changed: Trump had considered firing Comey for months, but acted upon DOJ’s recommendations. Then, on Thursday, May 11, it changed again: Trump planned to fire Comey regardless of the DOJ’s recommendations. Later on Thursday, Trump offered yet another reason for firing Comey: The FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. (giphy.com) We’re always looking for fact-check suggestions! You can also reach us via email, Twitter (@myhlee@GlennKesslerWP or use#FactCheckThis), or Facebook (Fact Checker or myhlee). Read about our rating scale here, and sign up here for our weekly Fact Checker newsletter.  Scroll down for this week’s Pinocchio roundup. — Michelle Ye Hee Lee
 
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