Donald Trump sent FBI Director James Comey packing Tuesday, citing the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, after he received two recommendations to do so from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The decision received criticism from Washington because Comey was leading an investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including if there were any ties between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government.
But before the president fired him for how he handled the email probe, he praised him for it.
During a speech in Grand Rapids, Mich., last October, and as the crowd chanted “lock her up,” Trump said he “had to give the FBI credit.”
“It took a lot of guts for Director Comey to make the move that he made in light of the kind of opposition he had with the trying to protect her from criminal prosecution,” Trump said at the time. “I really disagreed with him. 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.” (RELATED: Trump Breaks His Silence On Firing FBI Director James Comey)
Days later, at another rally, Trump said, “I respect the fact that Director Comey was able to come back after what he did. I respect that very much.”
Then, in November, Trump said he had respect for the FBI for reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails.
“Haven’t we just been through a lot with the Clintons, right?” Trump said. “…But I have respect that the FBI has given it a second chance. And this time, I have no doubt that in that 650,000 e-mails—did you see where they said, oh, we’re not worried. They’re duplicates. How can there be duplicates if there are hundreds of thousands more than you started off with?”
Again in November, Trump said: “As you know, the FBI, and I give them a lot of credit because they are fighting forces that they’re not supposed to be fighting, has reopened its criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton.”
Last week, on Twitter, he said Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Clinton.
FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2017