Source close to Comey: This is why Trump fired him … Meanwhile, Trump and his staffers are watching Sarah Huckabee Sanders


CNN Politics:  Nightcap
May 10, 2017   |   by Daniella Diaz

Source close to Comey: This is why Trump fired him

From CNN’s Jake Tapper: There were two reasons why President Donald Trump fired James Comey, according to a source close to the now-former FBI director:

  • Comey never provided the President with any assurance of personal loyalty.
  • The fact that the FBI’s investigation into possible Trump team collusion with Russia in the 2016 election was accelerating.

And the plot thickens: Trump had been thinking about firing Comey since Election Day, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during today’s White House press briefing. 

“The President has lost confidence in Director Comey and, frankly, he’d been considering letting Director Comey go since the day he was elected,” Sanders told reporters, adding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had raised concerns about the former FBI chief on Monday, prompting Trump to ask him to put his recommendation in writing.

Revelations that Trump had been uncertain about Comey for his entire transition and presidency were surprising, given that the White House had previously expressed confidence in the ousted FBI chief multiple times. Sanders also said Trump was not the only one to lose confidence in the FBI director, adding there were deep reservations about him inside the agency. More on this from CNN’s Stephen Collinson and Sara Murray.

A look at how Comey’s firing resonated through the FBI

News of Comey’s firing Tuesday night sent shockwaves through the FBI, where the dismissal of the generally well-liked bureau director immediately affected thousands of agents nationwide. The reaction was not universal. Some resented the political spotlight Comey had placed on the bureau with his public statements at the center of the Russia and Clinton investigation firestorms. But many felt loyalty to Comey and appreciated his independence from both sides of the political aisle, especially with critical comments Trump made about the intelligence community during the campaign and early in his presidency, as well as the former director’s efforts to streamline administrative processes. More on that from Tal Kopan, Pamela Brown, Evan Perez and Shimon Prokupecz.

STRAIGHT UP

“(James Comey) was not doing a good job.”

 

— President Donald Trump to reporters during his meeting with Henry Kissinger, who served as former President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state.

BUZZING

Trump meets with Kissinger: President Donald Trump sat down with Henry Kissinger, who served as President Richard Nixon‘s secretary of state, at the White House. This came after Trump hosted Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to America, Sergey Kislyak.

If Trump had been hoping to erase any implications that his abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey was tied to the agency’s investigation into Russian election meddling, he seemed to veer wildly off course by midday. More from CNN’s Kevin Liptak.

BAR TALK

Meanwhile, Trump and his staffers are watching Sanders

From CNN’s Jim Acosta: Officials at the highest levels, including President Donald Trump, are monitoring deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders‘ performance this week as she subs for press secretary Sean Spicer, according to a White House official. Spicer is spending his week at the Pentagon for Navy reserve duty for the rest of the week.

The perception, according to multiple sources inside and close to the White House, is that Spicer has been “benched” during this critical week for Trump. The big question, one source said, is whether it’s temporary or permanent. As this source pointed out, this is one of the biggest days for the job of press secretary since Trump has been in office.

Sanders offered a “significant contrast” today, said another official, who also added that Spicer’s reserve duty “couldn’t have come at a worse time for him.” A separate WH official disputed the notion that Spicer has been sidelined.

TIPSY

ICYMI: During an interview with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway last night, CNN’s Anderson Cooper played Conway a series of clips from the 2016 presidential campaign in which Trump praised James Comey. “Thanks for the trip down memory lane,” Conway responded. “I was on your show often last fall saying we were going to win Michigan and how we were going to do it, so that was fun.” While Conway was talking, this is how Cooper responded.

LAST CALL

3 things you might have missed today

Texas lawmakers working with Trump admin on immigration bill: House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn have been working with input from GOP leadership and the Trump administration to craft a bill that could be the first credible effort to deliver a legislative win on immigration policy under President Donald Trump. More from CNN’s Tal Kopan.

Bethune-Cookman grads boo DeVos at commencement: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced an auditorium of jeering Bethune-Cookman University graduates as she gave a commencement address. More from CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, Nick Valencia and John Couwels.

CBO score of GOP’s latest Obamacare repeal bill expected week of May 22: The Congressional Budget Office said that it will release an updated estimate of the American Health Care Act early in the week of May 22. The legislation was changed several times after it was introduced, and House lawmakers took the unusual step of voting on it without a fresh CBO score. More from CNNMoney’s Tami Luhby.

CLOSING TIME

CNN is set to host town halls next week with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. … Conservative media unleashes on “national embarrassment” James Comey after his firing. … Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson says he’s not opposed to running for the nation’s highest office.
Thanks for reading the CNN Politics Nightcap. Your bartender is Daniella Diaz. The tip jar: nightcap@cnn.com.
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