As another government official falls, the White House is scrambling to issue responses and contain growing backlash.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, James Comey.
The stunning development in Mr. Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency. It immediately ignited Democratic calls for a special counsel to lead the Russia inquiry.
Mr. Trump explained the firing by citing Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, even though the president was widely seen to have benefited politically from that inquiry and had once praised Mr. Comey for his “guts” in his pursuit of Mrs. Clinton during the campaign.
The termination letter that Trump delivered to Comey didn’t clear confusion surrounding the decision. It read, in part: