PHOENIX - A controversial meeting on the Sky Harbor tarmac – one that ABC15 Arizona broke in June of last year – may be tied to the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
ABC15 was first to break the news of the June 27, 2016 meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton at the Phoenix airport. The meeting came amid an ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of email.
Just days later, on July 5, Comey came out saying the email case should be closed with no prosecution for Hillary Clinton. But according to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo, that is not Comey's decision to make.
"The FBI Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department," Rosenstein's letter read. The letter also state Comey "now defends his decision by asserting that he believed Lynch had a conflict", likely following that airport meeting in Phoenix.
President Donald Trump also sent a letter to Comey Tuesday, saying the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI after Comey came under scrutiny during the Clinton email investigation.
Comey's abrupt dismissal comes in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.
Trump has ridiculed the probe, as well as concurrent congressional investigations, as a "hoax" and has denied that his campaign was involved in Russia's election meddling. In his letter to Comey, he asserted that the FBI director had informed him "on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation."
The White House said the search for a new FBI director was beginning immediately.