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A little less than a month ago, President Donald Trump said he has "confidence" in then-FBI Director James Comey. Then on Tuesday afternoon, the president abruptly announced he was firing Comey.
On Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had actually been considering letting Comey go since Election Day.
While Trump had sometimes criticized Comey during the campaign — especially after Comey announced in July that Hillary Clinton wouldn't face charges related to her use of a private email server as secretary of state — Trump also gave him numerous doses of praise and was seemingly a fan. Trump had publicly stated his respect and confidence in Comey, even hugging him during a law enforcement reception days after his inauguration.
These are some of the past statements Trump has made about Comey prior to his firing.
OCTOBER 28, 2016 – The day Comey announced the FBI was investigating new Clinton emails
“The FBI – after discovering new emails, is re-opening their investigation into Hillary Clinton,” Trump said at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. “I have great respect for the FBI for righting this wrong.”
In the days prior to Comey’s announcement that the FBI was investigating new emails found on a computer belong to Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner’s computer, Trump made repeated statements on Twitter and at rallies that the election was being rigged against him.
OCTOBER 31, 2016 – Trump holds a rally in Grand Rapids, MI
“You know that. It took a lot of guts. I really disagreed with him. I was not his fan,” Trump said of Comey. “I tell you what, what he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He's got to hang tough. A lot of people want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing.”
While speaking to supporters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump again offered praise for the FBI and this time mentioned Comey by name. Trump said that Comey has effectively saved his reputation by re-investigating Clinton.
On November 6, Trump again criticized Comey at a rally after the then-FBI director again announced no charges would be brought against Clinton.
NOVEMBER 13, 2016 – Trump’s ‘60 Minutes’ interview with Lesley Stahl
“I respect him a lot. I respect the FBI a lot,” Trump said.
During the interview, Stahl asked if Trump wanted Comey gone when he came into office, to which Trump replied that he wasn’t sure. He said despite what he perceived as “leaks” coming from the FBI, he wanted to speak with Comey before answering that kind of question.
JANUARY 22, 2017 – Trump attends a law enforcement reception on his second full day as president
"He's become more famous than me," Trump said of Comey to a crowd at a reception.
Before making the comment, Trump called out to Comey, who was in the crowd. Comey approached Trump who shook his hand before embracing him in a hug.
FEBRUARY 24, 2017 - Trump slams the FBI on Twitter for failing to stop 'leaks'
"The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security 'leakers' that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW," Trump wrote on Twitter.
One month after embracing Comey in Washington D.C., he angrily tweeted about the FBI being unable to stop leaks to the media. The tweets came after media reports claimed the White House had requested that the FBI refute claims that members of Trump's campaign had been in touch with Russia, according to Reuters. The FBI declined to refute the claims.
The following month, Comey debunked claims Trump made that former President Barack Obama had the then-Republican presidential candidate’s phones tapped. As Trump lashed out on Twitter, Comey continued the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
APRIL 12, 2017 - Trump's interview with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo
"It's not too late [to ask Comey to step down], but, you know, I have confidence in him. We'll see what happens, you know, it's going to be interesting," Trump said.
During an interview less than a month before firing Comey, Trump reiterated his faith in the FBI director. He also told Bartiromo that Comey "saved Hillary Clinton" during the election, adding, "he saved her life."
MAY 2, 2017 – Trump tweets Comey was ‘best thing’ that ever happened to Clinton
“FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?” Trump wrote in a tweet.
Between January and May, Trump reignited his feud with Comey, slamming the FBI and intelligence community in tweets for allegedly leaking information to the press about former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.
MAY 9, 2017 – Trump dismisses Comey on the advice of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein
“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 in Comey’s dismissal letter.
The president ended his letter telling Comey, “I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”