A fascinating new report from Politico details the panic that President Trump’s advisors had while watching the fallout of the Comey firing on TV.
Trump initially made several calls to leading Democratic and Republican members of Congress to enlist their support for firing FBI Director James Comey, and got several elected officials willing to back him up, with the exception of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who told the President he was making “a big mistake.” Nonetheless, Trump made Comey’s firing public, and the FBI Director learned of his dismissal while addressing FBI employees at the agency’s Los Angeles office, at first thinking he was being pranked by fellow agents.
“How are you not defending your position for three solid hours on TV?” one White House advisor recounted saying to another advisor in an interview with Politico.
While the White House’s official story was that Comey’s firing was a dry, bureaucratic affair, other advisors confirmed earlier reports that Team Trump had been looking for reasons to fire Comey for at least a week. However, as of this writing, there haven’t been names in consideration to replace Comey at the helm of the FBI.
“If there’s a list, I haven’t seen it,” an anonymous senior White House official told Politico.
Another recently retired FBI official who spoke to Politico on the condition of anonymity said the firing of Comey was completely unexpected.
“We just have no idea why this happened. No idea,” the FBI official said, who apparently worked alongside Comey on several high-profile cases. “No one knew this was coming. Everyone is just shocked that this happened.”
The magazine also reported that Comey’s firing was a topic of discussion between President Trump and longtime advisor and confidant Roger Stone, who recommended that the FBI director be let go. In a Wednesday morning tweet, Trump denied talking to Stone in recent weeks, saying the decision was entirely his own.
The Roger Stone report on @CNN is false – Fake News. Have not spoken to Roger in a long time – had nothing to do with my decision.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Kevin Wallace is a journalist with five years’ experience in print and digital media, and covers politics, media, and culture for the Resistance Report. He lives in Tallahassee, Florida.