Here are five unanswered questions raised by Comey’s dismissal.
Why now and not in January?
The administration argues that Comey’s dismissal is a result of his handling of the Clinton probe — which was officially completed in July and was temporarily resurrected when investigators uncovered new emails in October. But questions swirled about the timing. Why did Trump only now, in May, fire Comey over a breach of conduct that took place months previous?
Who ordered the review by Rosenstein?
The origins of Rosenstein’s review of Comey’s job performance remain murky, raising questions about whether Trump directed the probe. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters late Tuesday that Rosenstein initiated the effort himself after he was confirmed by the Senate two weeks ago and that Trump was not aware of it until he received the recommendation earlier in the day. But media reports have appeared to contradict the White House’s account. The New York Times reported that senior Justice Department and White House officials were working on building a case against Comey since last week, and that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked to come up with reasons to oust him.
What was Jeff Sessions’s involvement?
The White House said Comey’s dismissal came at the recommendation of both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein. Sessions’s decision to step down, in March, put Rosenstein in the driver’s seat for any charges in the case. Perhaps hinting that the White House anticipated that criticism, it was a memo from Rosenstein — not Sessions — that detailed the administration’s rationale for firing Comey.
Who knew and who signed off on it?
A major outstanding question surrounding Comey’s ouster is who in the White House and elsewhere knew about the plans to fire the embattled FBI director and when — and who signed off on it. According to documents released by the White House, Trump informed Comey of his firing on Tuesday — the same day that he received a letter from Sessions concluding that “a fresh start is needed at the FBI.” Rosenstein sent a memorandum to Sessions the same day underpinning his recommendation with the argument that Comey mishandled the Clinton email investigation.
What is the status of the Russia investigation?
Comey’s sudden firing has thrown the future of the FBI’s Russia investigation into doubt, accelerating calls for a special prosecutor to take control of the highly sensitive probe. His ouster came weeks after he publicly confirmed, with the permission of the Justice Department, that the bureau is investigating the possibility that Trump associates colluded with Moscow in its meddling in the presidential election. The investigation will continue under the supervision of acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a 20-year veteran of the bureau.
source– cnn, the hill, katie bo williams, jordan fabian, morgan chalfant