The Trump Investigators That Trump Has Fired

By Michael KellerMichael Keller, Mira RojanasakulMira Rojanasakul and Blacki MigliozziBlacki Migliozzi

Trump's dismissal of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday was the third time he's fired someone involved in an investigation of him or his associates. The FBI has been investigating Russian involvement in the U.S. election and possible involvement of Trump associates since the summer.

In each of these cases, the justifications for dismissal were inconsistent with prior actions, or immediately followed events related to investigations.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey's removal largely based on his handling of the Clinton email investigation, which concluded months earlier. In Trump's letter removing Comey from office, however, the President says Comey told him that he was not under investigation, an apparent reference to the Russia investigation. Sessions had previously recused himself from both that investigation and the Russia probe.

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Official testimony and action regarding Comey and his investigations

James Comey

Events and Trump’s public statements

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR

July 5, 2016

Gives press conference recommending no criminal charges against Clinton.

July

2016

July 5, 2016

After Comey’s announcement, Trump says that Comey is part of a "rigged" system.

Aug.

Oct. 28, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress announcing new emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop potentially related to Clinton.

Sept.

Oct.

Oct. 28, 2016

Trump responds to Comey’s letter saying "I have great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong."

Nov.

Nov. 6, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress standing by his previous recommendation not to charge Clinton.

Dec.

Jan. 6, 2017

Trump and Comey meet for a briefing. At some point later, Trump asks Comey to continue leading the bureau.

Jan.

2017

Jan. 10, 2017

Comey testifies before Sen. Intelligence committee largely on Russian interference in the election.

Feb.

Jan. 22, 2017

Trump receives Comey at a White House reception with a handshake and a hug saying “He’s become more famous than me.”

March

Mar. 20, 2017

Comey testifies before House Intelligence committee, during which he acknowledged under oath that the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign with Russia.

April

May 3, 2017

Testified before Senate Judiciary committee defending his July announcement. In his letter recommending Comey's termination, Rosenstein takes issue with Comey's statements in this hearing.

May

May 5, 2017

Trump tweets: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton" and that Comey "gave her a free pass."

May 9, 2017

Fired. Stated reason: for mishandling Clinton email investigation and follow-up.

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Official testimony and action regarding Comey and his investigations

Events and Trump’s public statements

James Comey

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR

July 5, 2016

Comey gives press conference recommending no criminal charges against Clinton.

July

2016

July 5, 2016

After Comey’s announcement, Trump says that Comey is part of a "rigged" system.

Aug.

Oct. 28, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress announcing new emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop potentially related to Clinton.

Sept.

Oct. 28, 2016

Trump responds to Comey’s letter saying "I have great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong."

Oct.

Nov. 6, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress standing by his previous recommendation not to charge Clinton.

Nov.

Jan. 6, 2017

Trump and Comey meet for a briefing. At some point later, Trump asks Comey to continue leading the bureau.

Dec.

Jan.

2017

Jan. 10, 2017

Comey testifies before Sen. Intelligence committee largely on Russian interference in the election.

Jan. 22, 2017

Trump receives Comey at a White House reception with a handshake and a hug saying “He’s become more famous than me.”

Feb.

March

Mar. 20, 2017

Comey testifies before House Intelligence committee, during which he acknowledged under oath that the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign with Russia.

April

May 3, 2017

Comey testifies before Senate Judiciary committee defending his July announcement. In his letter recommending Comey's termination, Rosenstein takes issue with Comey's statements in this hearing.

May

May 5, 2017

Trump tweets: "FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton" and that Comey "gave her a free pass."

May 9, 2017

Fired. Stated reason: for mishandling Clinton email investigation and follow-up.

James Comey

FORMER FBI DIRECTOR

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Events and Trump’s public statements

Official testimony and action regarding Comey and his investigations

July 2016

July 5, 2016

Comey gives press conference recommending no criminal charges against Clinton.

July 5, 2016

After Comey’s announcement, Trump says that Comey is part of a “rigged” system.

Aug.

Sept.

Oct. 28, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress announcing new emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop potentially related to Clinton.

Oct.

Oct. 28, 2016

Trump responds to Comey’s letter saying “I have great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong.”

Nov.

Nov. 6, 2016

Comey sends letter to Congress standing by his previous recommendation not to charge Clinton.

Dec.

Jan. 10, 2017

Comey testifies before Sen. Intelligence committee largely on Russian interference in the election.

Jan. 2017

Jan. 6, 2017

Trump and Comey meet for a briefing. At some point later, Trump asks Comey to continue leading the bureau.

Mar. 20, 2017

Comey testifies before House Intelligence committee, during which he acknowledged under oath that the FBI was investigating collusion between the Trump campaign with Russia.

Feb.

Jan. 22, 2017

Trump receives Comey at a White House reception with a handshake and a hug saying “He’s become more famous than me.”

March

May 3, 2017

Comey testifies before Senate Judiciary committee defending his July announcement. In his letter recommending Comey's termination, Rosenstein takes issue with Comey’s statements in this hearing.

April

May

May 5, 2017

Trump tweets: “FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton” and that Comey “gave her a free pass.”

May 9, 2017

Fired. Stated reason: for mishandling Clinton email investigation and follow-up.

While former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was slated to leave office once Senator Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General, she was dismissed after she refused to defend Trump's first travel ban. In the days immediately prior to her removal, she had relayed to the White House the findings of her department's investigation into Michael Flynn's ties to Russia.

Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara was initially asked to stay on in his role before being fired in March. The following day, he tweeted "By the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like," referring to a commission appointed to investigate corruption by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that the governor disbanded.

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Sally Yates

FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Nov.

2016

Jan. 24, 2017

FBI interviews National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, finding his underlying conduct "problematic."

Dec.

Jan. 26, 2017

Yates discusses Michael Flynn with White House Counsel Donald McGahn.

Jan.

2017

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates discusses arrangements for McGahn to view underlying evidence on Flynn.

Feb.

Jan. 27, 2017

Trump issues travel ban.

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates meets with McGahn on his request. They discussed possible criminal prosecution of Flynn among other topics, according to Yates's testimony.

March

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates talks with McGahn again.

April

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates refuses to enforce the travel ban.

Jan. 30, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: for refusing to enforce Trump’s first travel ban.

May

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Preet Bharara

FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Bharara’s office had been involved with investigating Deutsche Bank, was said to be investigating Tom Price, Trump’s Head of the Department of Health and Human Services and had jurisdiction over Manhattan, which includes many of Trump’s properties including his home at Trump Tower.

Nov.

2016

Dec.

Nov. 30, 2016

Trump asks Bharara to stay on as U.S. attorney with jurisdiction over Manhattan.

Jan.

2017

Feb.

March

Mar. 10, 2017

Trump includes Bharara on a list of 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign. Bharara refuses.

Mar. 11, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: Bharara

refused to resign.

April

May

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Sally Yates

FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Nov.

2016

Jan. 24, 2017

FBI interviews National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, finding his underlying conduct "problematic."

Dec.

Jan. 26, 2017

Yates discusses Michael Flynn with White House Counsel Donald McGahn.

Jan.

2017

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates discusses arrangements for McGahn to view underlying evidence on Flynn.

Feb.

Jan. 27, 2017

Trump issues travel ban.

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates meets with McGahn on his request. They discussed possible criminal prosecution of Flynn among other topics, according to Yates's testimony.

March

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates talks with McGahn again.

April

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates refuses to enforce the travel ban.

Jan. 30, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: for refusing to enforce Trump’s first travel ban.

May

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Preet Bharara

FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Bharara’s office had been involved with investigating Deutsche Bank, was said to be investigating Tom Price, Trump’s Head of the Department of Health and Human Services and had jurisdiction over Manhattan, which includes many of Trump’s properties including his home at Trump Tower.

Nov.

2016

Dec.

Nov. 30, 2016

Trump asks Bharara to stay on as U.S. attorney with jurisdiction over Manhattan.

Jan.

2017

Feb.

Mar. 10, 2017

Trump includes Bharara on a list of 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign.

Bharara refuses.

March

Mar. 11, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: Bharara

refused to resign.

April

May

Preet Bharara

FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK

Sally Yates

FORMER ACTING U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL

Stated reason for dismissal

Topic of investigation

Bharara’s office had been involved with investigating Deutsche Bank, was said to be investigating Tom Price, Trump’s Head of the Department of Health and Human Services and had jurisdiction over Manhattan, which includes many of Trump’s properties including his home at Trump Tower.

Nov. 2016

Jan. 24, 2017

FBI interviews National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, finding his underlying conduct "problematic."

Nov. 30, 2016

Trump asks Bharara to stay on as U.S. attorney with jurisdiction over Manhattan.

Dec.

Jan. 26, 2017

Yates discusses Michael Flynn with White House Counsel Donald McGahn.

Jan. 2017

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates discusses arrangements for McGahn to view underlying evidence on Flynn.

Jan. 27, 2017

Trump issues travel ban.

Feb.

Jan. 27, 2017

Yates meets with McGahn on his request. They discussed possible criminal prosecution of Flynn among other topics, according to Yates's testimony.

Mar. 10, 2017

Trump includes Bharara on a list of 46 U.S. attorneys asked to resign.

Bharara refuses.

March

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates talks with McGahn again.

Mar. 11, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: Bharara

refused to resign.

April

Jan. 30, 2017

Yates refuses to enforce the travel ban.

Jan. 30, 2017

Fired.

Stated reason: for refusing to enforce Trump’s first travel ban.

May