Trump once praised Comey's 'guts' for how he handled the Clinton email investigation

Trump meets with former FBI Director James Comey in January.
(Image credit: YouTube/AP)

Oh, how quickly things can change. Just months ago, President Trump was blowing a kiss to FBI Director James Comey and praising him as "more famous than me."

And now? Comey has been unceremoniously dumped by the administration, learning of his own unexpected firing on television.

While there are many baffling elements to Tuesday evening's developments, one of the most head-spinning parts is Trump citing Comey's treatment of Hillary Clinton's email scandal as a part of his rationale. In October, Trump had praised Comey for reopening the ultimately unfruitful second investigation into Clinton's emails: "It took a lot of guts," Trump said at the time. "I really disagreed with [Comey]. I was not his fan. But I'll tell you what he did, he brought back his reputation. He brought it back. He's got to hang tough because there's ... a lot of people want him to do the wrong thing. What he did was the right thing."

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was reportedly tasked with finding a reason to dump Comey, claimed in November that "Director Comey did the right thing when he found new evidence. He had no choice."

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By January, it seemed the whole administration was on board. Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus, told ABC's This Week that Trump "has confidence in Director Comey."

"We have had a great relationship with [Comey] over the last several weeks," Priebus said. "He's extremely competent. But, look, his term extends for some time yet. There's no plans at the moment in changing that term. And we've enjoyed our relationship with him and find him to be extraordinarily competent."

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Jeva Lange

Jeva Lange was the executive editor at She formerly served as The Week's deputy editor and culture critic. She is also a contributor to Screen Slate, and her writing has appeared in The New York Daily News, The Awl, Vice, and Gothamist, among other publications. Jeva lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter.