Comey’s Firing and the Clinton Emails: The Backstory

May 9, 2017
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by Anjali Tsui Abrams Journalism Fellow, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships

President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Tuesday.

In a letter addressed to Comey, Trump advised the director that he was dismissing him on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The shocking dismissal comes less than two months after Comey confirmed to Congress that he had opened an investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, and whether there were any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

“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,” Trump wrote.

Comey reopened the investigation into Clinton’s emails just days before the 2016 election. As FRONTLINE explored in the above scene from Trump’s Road to The White House, Trump seized on the news to help solidify support and ultimately win the presidency.

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