tv Headliners MSNBC April 22, 2018 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
tenure as national security adviser involving the russias. >> is he the hero of the story? i hope he sits down and says i'm a u.s. fighting man. and i will live by the code and creed. duty, honor, country. first. and above all. and he tells the absolute truth and it is checkable, verifiable. and comes out of this with honor in tact. comey's book is out. >> comey says the president lives in a cocoon of reality. >> he's a washington insider.
within inside information. challenged the president himself. >> i have no information that supports those tweets. we have looked carefully inside the fbi. >> regardless of recommendation. i was going to fire comey. knowing there was no good time to do it. >> those were lies. plain and simple. >> the transformation of america's top cop. into its star witness.
>> i hope there are tapes. no one before has taken on donald trump like james comey. >> quote, this president is unethical and untethered to truth and institutional values. in his book. had dares to compare the president of the united states to an organized crime figure. a mafia boss. >> lying about all things large and small. he's taken criticism for landing low blows. >> some of the widely cited
parthave to do with your description and words about president trump. inuding calling his skin orange and saying his tanning goggles. and some people said that was kind of for lack of a better word, catty. did you enjoy taking shots at the president? >> i didn't think of them as shots. i'm trying to be an author. and bring the reader into the scene. >> james comey says president trump is a serial liar. and morally unfit for president. trump calls comey a slime ball. >> the book and media fury unleashed a wrath of the white house. >> the tell all book is increasing spk lake the trump will try to end robert mueller's investigation. >> comey doesn't believe that
will happen. >> if somebody wanted to end the investigation. >> i don't think you can accomplish that by firing director mueller. you have to fire everybody in the fbi and the justice department. >> no one knows for sure what the president will do. after all, he stunned the nation when he fired comey. >> in riveting testimony before congress in june 2017, comey gave his version of what happened between him. and his former boss. >> why do you believe you were fired? >> i guess i don't know for sure. i believe the president i was fired because of the russia investigation. about the way i was conducting it the president felt created pressure on him he wanted to relieve. >> trump gave an additional reason. in an interview. >> the fbi has been in turmoil. i know that. everybody knows that. >> the administration then chose to defame me and more importantly the fbi. by saying the organization was
in disarray. it was poorly led. led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. those were lies, plain and simple. >> it's not very often that you hear anyone, much less someone who has been the director of the fbi, use the word "lie" in sworn testimony when referring to the president of the united states. >> the man at the center of this crisis, james comey, has a reputation for being fiercely independent and highly principled. >> he's probably one of the most charismatic, honest, ethical people i've met in my life. >> how are you? >> excellent. >> inside the bureau he's known for his distinctive approach. >> hey, guys. >> he was a good manager and good at working with people across the country in law enforcement and the community. >> he was very approachable. he was down to earth. if you didn't know he was director of the fbi, you wouldn't know it. >> thank you for how hard you've been working. you've been killing it.
>> but outside the washington, he was at odds with the washington establishment. >> jim comey has managed to irritate, offend, enrage democrats, republicans, liberals, radicals, independents, which is great. he's trying to do a job as fbi director. his job is to protect and defend the constitution and the laws of the united states, which is messy, dangerous, dirty business sometimes. >> in the months after his appearance before congress, comey goes underground, speaking out only on twitter. but observers say his decisions have all followed his signature pattern. >> i think there's three factors that motivate him. one is the fact that he believes that he is right in what he is doing, and he is righteous in what he is doing. the second thing is that he is independent. he is not influenced by other people. and the third thing is that he's
transparent. these three things are the reason why he becomes fbi director. but they're also the reason why he's widely criticized about the clinton e-mail investigation. and ultimately loses his job. >> coming up -- >> he gets bob mueller, then the head of the fbi, on the telephone and says, whatever you do, don't let them throw me out of the room. more and more people are finding themselves in a chevrolet for the first time. trying something new can be exciting. empowering. downright exhilarating. see for yourself why chevrolet is the most awarded and fastest growing brand, the last four years overall. switch into a new chevy now. current competitive owners can get $5,000 below msrp on this 2018 equinox when you finance with gm financial. find new roads at your local chevy dealer.
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don't miss the greatest week in tv. show me watchathon. binge now with on demand or the xfinity stream app until april 22nd. former top cop james brien comey jr. has always been destined for law enforcement. born in 1960 in yonkers, new york, he's the grandson of the city's police commissioner. >> i grew up in a law enforcement family. one of my heroes, my grandfather. >>arents, a real estate executive and a computer consultant, raised jim and his three siblings in allendale, new jersey.
>> i wish so much that mom could be here to enjoy this amazing day. i can still hear ringing in my tired teenage ears her voice as she snapped open the shades every single morning and said, rise and shine and show the world what you're made of. >> at the college of william and mary in virginia, comey shows the world an unusual set of interests, majoring in chemistry and religion. writing his college thesis about christians in politics. >> i was in the fraternity of jocks, jim was not. >> he was in kind of the tough guy football fraternity and i was in the library. >> in college he meets his future wife, patrice failor, who nominates him for dorm president, his only experience with elective office. when he graduates, comey attends law school at the university of chicago. >> there are a lot of people at law school called gunners
because they're constantly raising their hands. that wasn't jim comey. he would smile, but when the professor called on him, he usually knew the answer. >> soon after law school, he and patrice marry and he joins the district attorney's office in the southern district of new york. at 6'8", comey quickly makes his mark. >> my first impression was that he was very tall. and he was, i came to know, super smart, very funny, and just a charming individual. >> comey meets a set of like minded frids who form cle knit group that will last for decades. >> we sort of grew up together in the offices of assistant u.s. attorneys. >> there's a lot of people there who take themselves very seriously. we were not amongst that group. always looking to get a good laugh and to see the humor in things. we're all of the same ilk, not being motivated for any sort of personal gain or any sort of
political gain, but just there to fight the good fight for the good guys. >> comey's sense of justice and his sense of humor carry into the courtroom, where he prosecutes everything from interstate fraud to the gambino crime family. >> oh, gosh, you won't see somebody better in the courtroom. >> i recall hearing of when jim got up and said, i don't want to hold you to this, but just approximately how long did it take you to come up with that story? >> i didn't mean is just one of those guys, he's super down to earth and finds a way to really connect with people. >> even though he's rising through the office, in 1993 comey puts his growing family first when his wife patrice wants to move back to virginia. >> patrice is a real strong woman. she's got a lot of backbone. and she also is very smart and very thoughtful. and very sharp minded.
>> but in richmond, the comey family experiences a devastating tragedy in 1995. their fourth child, collin, dies from a bacterial infection at just 9 years old. the couple will eventually have six children in all and they will go on to become emergency foster parents as well. but their loss remains with them. >> collin is buried in richmond and that is something that they always think about. it's very much a part of him and patrice. >> after three years at a private firm, comey decides to return to government work in 1996, running the richmond office of the u.s. attorney for eastern virginia. >> a job that i liked and i miss something. i miss getting up in the morning, trying to be part of doing something good. i miss work with moral compass, as corny as that sounds.
>> at the time richmond has the fourth highest murder rate in the country. >> illegal guns. it's a side richmond police had seen far too often. >> comey sees an answer in a program being rolled out called project exile. anyone caught with an illegal gun can be charged in federal court. >> these geniuses at the advertising agency created a brand and bought billboards in bad neighborhoods and buses and tv commercials and printed cards with our slogan, illegal guns will get you five years in federal prison. one guy got locked up for seven years and he said, the damn ad said five. >> fbi director louis freeh is struggling to bring indictments in the terrorist bombing at the khobar towers barracks in saudi arabia which killed 19 american servicemen in 1996. the statute of limitations is
set to expire in june 2001. >> when louis freeh really wanted that case kicked up a notch or many more than just a notch, jim is the person he reached out for. >> comey is able to file federal charges just before the deadline against 14 suspects in the middle east. >> this indictment represents a major step forward in this investigation, indeed a milestone which will bring justice ultimately against those who committed this very horrific crime. coming up -- >> i couldn't stay if the administration was going to engage in conduct that the department of justice said had no legal basis. >> comey was ready to resign. bush knew it. adults are just kids with much, much better toys. introducing the 2018 c-class sedan, coupe and cabriolet.
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from you whether you do well or not, fisher investments fees are structured so we do better when you do better. maybe that's why most of our clients come from other money managers. fisher investments. clearly better money management. mr. comey, will you please stand and raise your right hand for the administration of the oath of office. >> after james comey's success bringing indictments in the khobar towers terrorism case, president george w. bush nominates him in november 2001 for the high profile position of
u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york. it's the same office where he began his career more than a decade earlier. >> part of our mystique is, we win almost all of our cases. and when we bring a case, people take a deep breath. >> but theffice faces new challees sin he was last there. >> when jim ca in, ts was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, where in the weeks and months after, there is a burning smell that permeated the office. and so jim's challenge was to get everybody through that. and i think he did that by lifting their spirits and knowing that they had somebody like him who was going to lead the charge. >> comey's experience in the khobar towers case has prepared him for the fight against terrorism. but there's much more happening in the southern district. >> they had the dot-com bubble bursting. and in the wake of that, a whole series of white collar catastrophes.
>> it seemed like there was one major corporate scandal after another. it was fairly astonishing. >> comey and his team prosecute prominent business leaders like sam waksal of imclone and high level executives at worldcom. >> white collar work is all about sending messages. in the white collar arena deterrence works pretty well because your audience is made up of people who read the paper, who watch the television, who talk about people going to jail in a way that drug dealers don't. >> the parade of white collar perp walks causes controversy with critics who say comey is playing to the cameras. but few cases received the media attention that came when comey charged martha stewart in connection with the imclone case. >> this criminal case is about lying. lying to the fbi. lying to the sec. and lying to investors.
>> i'm just very, very sorry that a small personal matter has been able to be blown out of all proportion. >> what jim tried to do was to make sure that because the defendant was famous, we weren't treating her differently than we would someone else. >> stewart is convicted for lying to investigators and serves a five-month sentence. but comey emphasizes to his assistants that it's not all about winning cases. >> jim would have a talk with the new assistants, he would sit down with them and tell them how the reputation of the office depended on them doing what was necessary. >> if you come in here as all of my assistants do to report a verdict and you have to tell me it's an acquittal, i don't care, as long as you did the right thing and gave it your best shot. attorney, comey is tapped by president bush for deputy attorney general, the number two position in the department of justice. but almost immediately and long
before he goes head to head with president trump, comey clashes with the bush white house. he learns about a controversial new surveillance program they've created to combat terrorism. >> he was read into, that is, informed of, the existence of this super secret program designed after 9/11 to read secretly the e-mails and computer addresses of anybody in america or the world. >> the program had to be renewed by march the 11th, which was a thursday, 2004. and we were engaged in a very intensive reevaluation of the matter. >> comey says the program is illegal and tells his boss, attorney general john ashcroft, not to sign off on it. and then a week before the deadline, ashcroft is rushed to the hospital with a severe case of pancreatitis. as ashcroft fights the disease, comey is named the acting attorney general.
>> and over the next week, we communicated our decision that as acting attorney general i would not certify the program. >> he broke with the white house in a very, very dramatic fashion. >> wednesday, march the 10th, i remember exactly where i was, on constitution avenue, and got a call telling me that mr. card and mr. gonzalez were on the way to the hospital to see mr. ashcroft. >> with bush's chief of staff andy card and white house counsel alberto gonzalez en route, comey feels the pressure. >> i was concerned that given how ill i knew the attorney general was, that there might be an effort to ask him to overrule me when he was in no condition to do that. i told my security detail that i need to get to george washington hospital immediately. >> there is a race to ashcroft's hospital room. and jim comey goes bounding up the steps, two steps at a time, to beat bush's emissaries to ashcroft's hospital room. >> i literally ran up the stairs
with my security detail. and mr. ashcroft was lying down in the bed. the room was darkened. he seemed pretty bad off. i went out in the hallway, spoke to director mueller by phone. >> he gets bob mueller, then the head of the fbi, on the telephone, he says, there are fbi agents guarding the attorney general, and he says, whatever you do, don't let them throw m t of the room. >> it was only a matter of minutes that the door opened and in walked mr. gonzalez carrying an envelope and mr. card. mr. gonzalez began to discuss why they were there, to seek his approval for a matter, and explained what the matter was. and attorney general ashcroft then stunned me. he lifted his head off the pillow and in very strong terms expressed his view of the matter and then laid his head back down on the pillow, and seemed spent,
and said to them, but that doesn't matter because i'm not the attorney general, there is the attorney general. and he pointed to me. >> so bush's men went back to the white house without the signature. >> the administration ignores comey's recommendation. >> the program was reauthorized without us, without a signature from the department of justice attesting as to its legality. and i prepared a letter of resignation. friday would be my last day. and monday morning, i would resign. >> on that friday, comey heads to the white house with fbi director robert mueller for a routine briefing. >> and as i was leaving the president asked to speak to me. he took me in his study and we had a one-on-one meeting, about 15 minutes. >> ashcroft was ready to resign. bob mueller, the head of the fbi, was ready to resign. and comey was ready to resign. bush knew it. bush writes in his memoirs, the
saturday night massacre flashed before my eyes. i was not eager to repeat that. >> president bush backs down and instructs the justice department to make the necessary changes to the surveillance program, avoiding a major crisis. >> how many people could stand up to the president one on one in a situation like that? i don't know that you can count too many. >> after the president agrees to change the program, comey continues in the justice department until ashcroft steps down at the end of the year. comey resigns his post and leaves government work in 2005 for the private sector. >> thank you. >> the details of the hospital bed confrontation don't emerge until 2007, when comey is called to testify in front of the senate about an unrelated matter. >> first, can you confirm that a nighttime hospital visit took place? >> i've actually thought quite a bit over the last three years about how i would answer that question if it was ever asked.
>> the next day was wednesday, march the 10th. after the hospital incident, i was headed home. >> you don't normally get testimony like that in front of the united states senate. you could have heard a pin drop, down the corridor. >> i was very upset. i was angry. i thought i had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man. >> that testimony was spellbinding. nobody who watched that has ever forgotten it. coming up -- >> the head of the fbi dropped a bomb in the race for president. [ drum roll ] ...emily lapier from ames, iowa. this is emily's third nomination and first win. um...so, just...wow! um, first of all, to my fellow nominees, it is an honor sharing the road with you. and of course, to the progressive snapshot app for giving good drivers the discounts -- no, i have to sait --
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and help trump become president. killed four and wounded four others at a waffle house shooting. james shau grabbed the suspect before he made his escape. now back to "headliners: james comey." to know jim comey is also to know his fierce independence and deep integrity. >> when robert mueller's term as fbi director is up in 2013, president barack obama chooses james cometo replace him. >> it's seen as an inspired choice by barack obama. he's picking a republican, willing to stand up. a that speaks to independence. >> comey is confirmed by a vote of 93-1 in the senate. he takes control of the bureau in fall of 2013. >> i know already this is the best job i have ever had and will ever have. a front row seat to watch the work of a remarkable group of
people who serve this country. >> as he settles into his ten-year term as director, comey once again establishing his independence from the administration he serves. statistics from 2015 show rising crime rates in some cities. comey wonders publicly if police officers are holding back because they're afraid of being filmed by bystanders. the ferguson effect. >> are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? >> he goes out on his own, he doesn't tell the justice department much about it, and he gives this speech. and it is not well-received at all. >> there was no evidence that the ferguson effect was real. he was just kind of repeating what he had heard from officers. >> it actually ends up with comey essentially getting called into the principal's office and going in to meet with obama and having a one-on-one with obama at the white house. >> a far bigger conflict builds
in 2015 when the fbi begins another investigation. >> and the fbi has to respond on capitol hill. >> as the election heats up, the matter becomes far more complicated. former president bill clinton and attorney general loretta lynch run into each other at the airport in phoenix in the middle of the investigation in june 2016. >> i was told that he wanted to come on the plane and say hello. >> did a part of you go, oh, no, no, no, turn him around? >> at first my thought was, you know, i people to people all the time, people in public life, people not in public life. >> but his wife was under investigation by the jusce department. >> the meeting makes republicans question whether lynch can be objective when it comes to the former president's wife. she announces she will defer to comey's recommendation in the clinton e-mail case. >> he was in an impossible
situation. other people who should have been responsible ran away and were all too happy to let him handle it. >> i have not coordinated this statement or reviewed it in any way with the department of justice or any other part of the government. they do not know what i'm about to say. >> was comey wrong? did he usurp your authority? >> well, it certainly was an unusual move. it was a different way to deliver a recommendation to the attorney general. >> on july 5th, 2016, comey outlines what the investigation has found. >> although we did not find clear evidence that secretary clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless. >> he discusses what the fbi found. he criticizes her. and he essentially takes heat for the justice department in saying what the recommendation is. >> republicans and their candidate, donald trump, are
furious that the fbi is not recommending charges be brought against clinton. >> our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. >> she was guilty. we have a rigged system, folks. >> democrats questioned why comey offered his own opinion of clinton's behavior. >> he was raining damnation down on her as he was exonerating her. he presented a case against her, acted as the prosecutor, the judge, and the jury in this case. >> two days after his news conference, comey appears on capitol hill to explain his decisionmaking. >> do you understand as the chairman said earlier, that great numbers of people feel now that there is one standard of justice for the clintons and another for regular people? >> yeah, i've heard that a lot. it's not true, but i've heard it a lot. >> the subsequent testimony allowed a lot of people to kind
of grill him aut hillary clinton's cond ani think that actually ma the situation much worse. >> and then another twist in the story. in october 2016, the laptop of former congressman anthony weiner, who at the time is married to clinton's aide huma abedin, is seized in an investigation of sexting. there are e-mails on his computer. from clinton. comey allows a search warrant so they can read the e-mails. then he faces a pivotal decision. inform congress before he knows what's in the e-mails or risk the public finding out he had kept the development secret? he decides to write to congress. >> his overarching concern was to make sure that people understood that there is new information, that they had to review it, and i think he was trying to be completely transparent. >> comey said in his book that his belief that clinton would win may have influenced his decision.
as soon as he sends the letter, it's leaked to the media. >> with 11 days to go, the head of the fbi dropped a bomb in the race for president this afternoon. >> we were flying to iowa. so i had to tell hillary about it before we got off the plane. and i said, i have something to tell you. it's not good. she's like, okay, what is it? i said, jim comey, he's back. >> have you been in touch with the fbi, secretary clinton? any reaction to the fbi reopening the investigation? >> hillary clinton's lead in the polls fades. >> if you tell the american public we'renvestigating someone, they assume guilt. and of course what we saw in this case was e reopening of this investigation didn't mean guilt at all. >> two days before the election, the fbi announces it has found nothing and no reason to charge clinton. but the clinton team says the damage is done. >> donald trump is now the
president-elect of the united states. >> the candidate blames james comey for her loss. >> the determining factor was the intervention by comey on october 28th. it stopped my momentum. it drove voters from me. and we didn't have time to recover from it. >> i don't know that there is any critic out there who has ever been in his shoes. i think under all the circumstances that he was confronted with, he did what he thought was the right thing to do. coming up -- >> comey has to pull trump aside and say, hey, there's this dossier. >> awkward in the extreme. because i get a safe driving bonus check every six months i'm accident free. and i don't share it with mom! right, mom? righttt. safe driving bonus checks. only from allstate. switching to allstate is worth it. my mom washes the dishes... ...before she puts them in the dishwasher. so what does the dishwasher do?
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fbi director james comey meets donald trump for the first time on january 6th, 2017, when he and other intelligence leaders travel to trump tower to brief the president-elect. but comey has a further duty to perform. briefing trump on a soon to be published story claiming the russians have compromising material about him. >> comey has to pull trump aside and said, hey, there's this dossier that has this very embarrassing information about you. >> awkward in the extreme. i think that he was ethically and legally obligated to tell the president that this dossier was out there and that like a lot of raw intelligence reporting, some of it might be true, some of it might be nonsense. but this could not have been an endearing introduction. >> for months, trump has been trying to discredit the idea that the russians interfered in the u.s. elections.
>> this was a president who as the republican nominee cast aside the high confidence judgment of our entire intelligence community that russia had meddled in the election. >> it also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, okay? >> the investigation first came to light in the spring with the hacking of the democratic national committee server. >> u.s. intelligence agencies believe russian cyber spies hacked into computers belonging to the democratic national committee. >> they realize what they've been looking at is an incredibly complex tactic directed by the kremlin designed to undermine our democracy, defeat hillary clinton, and elect donald trump. >> that conclusion is announced in a joint statement from the intelligence agencies on the same day comey first briefs trump, making the meeting even more uncomfortable. >> i think from the first meeting with trump, it was
apparent that trump was not going to behave in a manner appropriate for the president of the united states. comey clearly got that vibe. >> when he leaves trump tower, comey says he immediately writes a memo detailing their discussion. it's a pattern he will follow throughout the winter and spring of 2017. o days aft he's inaugurated, president trump calls law enforcement officials to the white house. comey doesn't want to go. >> an environment in which large numbers of democrats suspect that he had intervened in the election to trump's benefit. the idea that he would then have some display of closeness by being at the white house with trump struck him at wrong. >> oh, and there's james. >> jim described walking across the room, committing to himself, there is not going to be a hug. and then trump pulls him into what actually got described as a
hug. and he left feeling like there was a deliberate effort to compromise him and he was angry and offended and mortified by it. >> five days later, the president invites comey to dinner. comey later says he's surprised to find out they're alone. and even more surprised when trump asks him to pledge his loyalty. in his book, comey says the request reminds him of the mob bosses he used to prosecute. quote, to my mind, the demand was like sammy the bull's cosa nostra ceremony, asking me if i have what it takes to be a made man. >> he wants to build a relationship but not necessarily to protect the country but maybe to co-opt comey and sort of win him over. >> then comes their most
contested encounter. after a meeting at the white house with attorney general jeff sessions, comey says the president asks everyone to clear the room so he can speak with comey alone. >> jim comey looks sort of imploringly over his shoulder at the attorney general saying, don't leave me alone with him, please! something terrible is about to happen. he has a premonition. >> what happens, according to comey, is that trump asks him to back off the investigation of his national security adviser michael flynn, whom he fired a day earlier for lying about his conversations with the russian ambassador. the request raises questions. >> was trump asking comey to move past the flynn investigation because he was being loyal to flynn or is it because there's something that flynn knows? >> comey faces a new challenge two weeks later, when the president tweets that president obama had trump's wires tapped
in trump tower. >> i have no information that supports those tweets and we have looked carefully inside the fb >> is just such a wild and crazy accusation that the president made. but he had made it enough times and didn't back off of it that we thought we had to put that to bed. thankfully the director did. >> the justice department later confirms there was no evidence of a wiretap. in the same hearing in march, comey announces for the first time that the fbi is investigating members of trump's campaign. >> i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the fbi as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government. >> it was bone chilling to hear that the fbi had opened criminal and counterintelligence investigations into the president's campaign. i hope for people at home, that's where they were awakened
to just how serious this investigation was. >> that hearing is a turning point. >> trump, we know, demands loyalty over everything else and in fact had asked jim comey for loyalty. in trump's mind, apparently loyalty means standing up and saying that the sky is red because i, the president, have said the sky is red. and comey, like most honorable public servants, wasn't willing to do that. >> comey tells trump he is not the subject of the investigation but says the president still asks him to lift the cloud of the russia probe. >> he expected a rocky time, a very challenging time, but one in which he would be committed to steering the ship through these roiling waters. >> in the end, the decision is not comey's to make. >> comey is out in los angeles. he's talking to some staff there.
and he looks up and sees on the television in the back of the room the breaking news alert that he's been fired. he says, that's funny. his aides come up to him and say, actually, sir, this is not a joke. he finishes his speech. he then shakes hands with everyone in the room, and then calls back to washington and finds out that, ined, he's been fired. >> he ly beld he had weathered the storm. he believed it was going to be a long few years. but he thought he had it under control. >> coming up -- >> i was concerned that you might lie about the nature of the meeting. i thought it important to document. as the one who's always trapped beneath the duvet,
today. without warning. suddenly. summarily. effective immediately. >> james comey is fired from his position as fbi director. on may 9, 2017. the white house first explains the decision as a response to his handling of the hillary clinton e-mail investigation the previous year. the following day there's a new explanation. >> most importantly, the rank and file of the fbi had lost confidence in their director. >> according to to official agent surveys comey's popular in the bureau as his replacement tells a senate committee. >> director comey enjoyed broad support within the fbi. >> many in washington have their own suspicions. >> i was pretty upset when i heard that comey has been fired. it seemed like the president was trying to take player off the field when it came to the russia investigation. >> the fbi director was fired. the acting attorney general was fired.
those are really dangerous circumstances for the justice system. >> and then, two days after comey is fired president trump sits for an interview with lester holt for nbc "nightly news." >> regardless of recommendation i was going to fire comey knowing there was no good time to do it. in fact, when i decided to do i i said tmyself, this russia thing with trump and russia is a made-up story. it's an excuse by the democrats for having lost an election. >> a day later the president addresses his former fbi director via twitter. james comey better hope there are no tapes of our conversations. >> for the president to threaten tapes that don't seem to exist, and if they did exist would probably back up jim comey's side of the story is a pretty weak attempt at intimidation.
but i think that's what he was trying to do. >> according to comey the tweet forces his hand. he will make the details of a conversation with the president public. giving one of his memos to his friend daniel richmond. >> i think from the get-go he thought it was imperative to protect bureau and ensure there would be no obstruction of russia investigation. the memo he gave me was unclassified. >> the contents of the memo are published in the "new york times." >> why didn't you give those to somebody yourself rather than give them through a third party? >> the media was camping at the end of my driveway. i would be feeding see gulls at the beach. if it was i who gave it to the media. i asked my friend make sure this gets out. i asked him to because i thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel. >> that led directly to the appointment of robert s. mueller iii as special counsel to investigate this entire mess.
>> the president accuses comey of leaking the memo. >> leaking is a term that has legal defition. and this was not that. you could call it whistle-blowing. you could call it informing the american people of what the president was up to. >> once again, comey is called to testify. on june 8, 2017, the nation is captivated waiting to hear him take on president trump. >> what was it about that very first meeting that made you write a memo when you had not done that with two previous presidents? >> the circumstances that i was alone, the subject matter and the nature of the person that i was interacting with and my read of that person. >> the most sensational aspect is comey's claim that the president asked him to stop the fbi investigation of michael flynn. if that's true, it could amount to obstruction of justice.
>> he is a good guy. i hope you can let this go. those are his exact words. is that correct? correct. >> he didn't order you to let it go? >> with the president united states saying i hope this. this is what he wants me to do. i didn't obey that. that's the way i took it. >> why didn't you stop and say mr. president, this is wrong? i cannot discuss this with you. >> it's a great question. maybe if i were stronger i would have. i was so stunned by the conversation that i just took it in. i was playing in my mind what should my response be. that's why i very closely chose the words. i have seen the tweet about tapes. i hope there are tapes. >> when he said lordy, i hope there are tapes, i think millions of americans fell off their couches. and said if i have to choose between whether this guy is telling the truth or the president of the united states is telling the truth, forget it. game over.
i'm going with comey. >> the things that comey disclosed at that hearing are going to have ramifications for months and maybe years to come. and may eventually be the thing that brings down trump's presidency. >> ten months after that testimony, congress received comey's original memos about his interactions with the president. >> tonight, the justice department handed over the comey memos, presumably are still important evidence in an investigation that we believe is still under way. >> the memos were released as part of the broader war on the justice department waged by donald trump and allies and unfortunately for those folks but the memos prove is that jim comey's story to which he testified to under oath, written about in the book, holds up. >> the memos are importantedly consistently with the sworn testimony and could be crucial
to a possible obstruction of justice case. >> with the notes and the books, james comey cements his role as a central figure in the crisis facing the trump white house. quote, i am proud of the fact that i tried to do the right thing. i am proud of the fact that i try to be truthful and transparent. i do think my way is better than the lying partisans that crowd our public life today. we were in love. >> they were so in love. romance turned to danger. >> i would call it an accidental death. >> but was it? >> she said thatf