President Donald Trump defended his abrupt decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, saying on Wednesday his decision will be seen in a better light after the furious controversy dies down.
At one point in a series of tweets, Trump said his dismissal of Comey — who came under withering criticism from both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation — would be validated after “things calm down.”
“Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!” Trump tweeted.
He led off the tweetstorm with criticism of Democrats, who have loudly called for a special prosecutor to look into alleged ties between his campaign and Russia. Democrats — and some Republicans — were quick on Tuesday to claim that Trump was ridding himself of an investigator who was delving too deeply into ties between his associates and Russia.
“The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!” Trump wrote.
Trump then said Comey will be replaced by “someone who will do a far better job.”
The President also tweeted out a link shared by Drudge Report on “10 scandals” under Comey’s watch.
Senior White House officials appeared to have badly misjudged the impact of Trump’s sudden move. A source with knowledge of discussions inside the White House told CNN’s Dana Bash that the thinking was that because Democrats were saying precisely what Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a letter explaining the grounds for Comey’s dismissal, there would be no backlash.
What was not thought through, apparently, was an explanation of why Comey was fired now, at a time when critics would immediately conclude it was because of the Russia probe.