Former FBI Director James B. Comey was a central figure in the investigations into scandals surrounding the 2016 presidential campaign and the Trump administration before he was abruptly fired Tuesday.
His unusual choice to announce, just a week and a half before Election Day, that the FBI had reopened its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server is widely believed to have impacted the course of the election.
His departure raises questions about the future of the FBI investigation into connections between the Russian government and members of Trump’s inner circle.
Here’s a look back at how it came to this:
The New York Times reports that Hillary Clinton used a personal email account while she was Secretary of State, a violation of State Department policies and a potential security risk.
Clinton announces she is running for president.
The inspector general for the intelligence community alerts Congressional oversight committees that classified material had been found on Hillary Clinton’s home email server that she had used as Secretary of State. The FBI opens a criminal investigation.
Officials at the Democratic National Committee learn that Russian hackers have invaded their computer system.
Comey delivers a blistering critique of Clinton at a press conference, saying her handling of classified material was, “extremely careless,” and hackers may have compromised her emails. But he concluded that he was recommending against charging Clinton in the case.
Comey testifies before Congress about the Clinton investigation, repeating his criticism and discussing his decision to close the case. He repeats his assertion that the case is closed.
Trump, at a press conference, says he hopes the Russian government has hacked Clinton’s emails and implores it to publish what it found. The comment fuels questions about the Russian government meddling in the campaign.
The FBI opens an investigation into members of the Trump campaigns’ contacts with the Russian government.
Reports surface that former Democratic New York Rep. Anthony Weiner had exchanged sexually explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl, potentially violating child pornography laws.
FBI investigators seize Weiner’s computer. Weiner was married at the time to Clinton confidante and campaign aide Huma Abedin. Agents discover that thousands of Abedin’s emails had been backed up on Weiner’s computers, including some that had apparently moved through Cinton’s server.
Wikileaks begins publishing hacked emails from the private account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.
Comey learns of the Clinton emails on Weiner’s server. He determines that he is obligated to tell Congress he is reopening the investigation. He does so in a letter on Oct. 28.
Days before the election, Comey sends a letter to Congress saying that the new emails did not contain any new information.
Trump is elected president.
Comey acknowledges for the first during testimony before the House intelligence Committee that the FBI is investigating connections between members of the Trump administration and the Russian government.
Comey testifies before Congress that Abedin regularly sent emails to Weiner so he could print them out, and that she had sent, “hundreds of thousands of emails,” to Weiner, “some of which contain classified information.”
ProPublica reports that Comey exaggerated the number of emails that Abedin sent to Weiner.
The Washington Post and the Associated Press report that none of the emails were designated as classified when they were sent.
The FBI sends a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley correcting details from Comey’s testimony.
Trump announces that Comey has been dismissed.
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Paul Manafort, Donald Trump's campaign chairman, has resigned, the campaign announced in a statement Friday.
"This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign," Trump said. "I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success."
Manfort's role in the campaign was reportedly diminished this week with the Republican presidential nominee naming longtime adviser Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon as chief executive.
Trump told The Wall Street Journal that he was making the changes because “I want to win. That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
Friction reportedly developed between Manafort and Trump over the campaign's direction as his poll numbers fell against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.
Manafort himself has been a distraction to the campaign over questions about his previous business dealings in Ukraine.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Manafort helped a pro-Russia group in Ukraine secretly route more than $2 million in payments to two Washington lobbying firms to try to influence U.S. policy.
On Friday, the AP reported that emails showed Manafort's company led the effort to sway American public opinion in favor of Ukraine's pro-Russian government.
According to the AP, Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates tried to gain positive coverage of Ukrainian politicians in newspapers like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
The report also said Gates, who worked for Manafort at the time, directed Washington, D.C., law firms Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group to set up meetings between Ukrainian officials and members of Congress.
The Podesta Group was co-founded by Tony and John Podesta, who now serves as campaign chairman for Clinton.
The New York Times reported this week that handwritten ledgers designated $12.7 million in payments to Manafort from the pro-Russian party of former President Viktor Yanukovych.