'He sought funds for Russia probe'

Even as questions are raised on timing of Donald Trump's sacking of FBI director, 3 congressional officials claim that days before the firing, James Comey had asked Justice Dept for a significant increase in resources for the investigation; President, meanwhile, says he'll find a better replacement

Donald TrumpDonald Trump

US President Donald Trump yesterday defended his firing of FBI's director, blasting Democratic critics who decried the move, and vowing to replace James Comey with someone "far better".

Even as Trump tweeted, "Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me," three congressional officials claimed that Comey, just days earlier, had asked the Justice Department for a significant increase in resources for the bureau's investigation into Russia's interference in the presidential election.

He asked for the resources last week from Rod J. Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, who also wrote the memo that was used to justify the firing, the officials added.

The US media, already at odds with Trump, have criticised him for sacking Comey, saying his abrupt move has cast "grave doubt" on the viability of any further probe into what could be one of the biggest political scandals in America's history.

"The explanation for this shocking move - that Mr. Comey's bungling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server violated longstanding Justice Department policy and profoundly damaged public trust in the agency — is impossible to take at face value," the editorial board of the New York Times said.

Comey was scheduled to appear before Congress again to discuss "worldwide threats" on Thursday. Trump has been tweeting how the allegations are a "hoax" and the investigations are a "taxpayer funded charade".

Voices
Chuck Schumer Democratic Senator
President Trump called me and said he was firing Comey. I told him: "...with all due respect, you are making a big mistake." Now, any person he appoints to lead the Russia investigation will be concerned that s/he will meet the same fate as director Comey.

Lindsey Graham Republican Senator
'Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well'

'Hope Comey firing won't hurt Russia-US ties'
The Kremlin said yesterday that it hoped that the firing of the FBI director would not affect Moscow's ties with Washington, saying it believed his dismissal had nothing to do with Russia. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told media persons, “This is an absolutely internal affair of the US, which has absolutely nothing to do, or should have nothing to do with the Russian Federation.”

FBI scramble on for a new chief
The FBI was reeling after President Donald Trump unexpectedly fired its director James Comey, with agency staff scheduling an emergency high-level meeting for Tuesday night amid speculation about who would replace Comey in the top job. An FBI official, who was not authorized to speak to reporters and so asked not to be identified, said the staff meeting would explore next steps for the law-enforcement agency.

How it all unfolded
JULY 5, 2016: Comey announced that he had recommended no criminal charges against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified data but called her "extremely careless" for using a private email server.

OCTOBER 28, 2016: Comey said the FBI had learned of the existence of emails that appeared to pertain to the Hillary investigation and they would be reviewed to see it they had classified information. The abrupt decisions upset Democrats.

FEBRUARY 13, 2017: Trump fired his national security adviser, Michael Flynn, after it was disclosed that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about the contacts he had with a Russian envoy.

MARCH 20, 2017: Comey, in his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, said FBI had been probing possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

MAY 2, 2017: Hillary told a Women for Women event in New York that the Comey announcement threw the election for Trump.

MAY 3, 2017: White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, "The president has confidence in the director."

May 4, 2017: Comey, in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it made him "mildly nauseous" to think his announcement of reopening of an investigation into Hillary's emails affected the 2016 presidential election, but he had no regrets.

May 8, 2017: ProPublica reported possible inaccuracies in Comey's statements about Hillary aide Huma Abedin.

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