Senior White House officials told the publication that they had been working out details for how to fire Comey “for several days now.”
Another administration official told The Daily Beast that the whole operation was “kept very close to the chest,” among Trump’s inner circle up until the moment they were “ready to pull the trigger” on the firing.
Other officials — who were left out of the loop — told The Daily Beast that they were “trying to get their heads around this” as media reports filtered in on Tuesday evening.
Trump wrote a letter to Comey informing him he was fired on Tuesday. In the letter, Trump wrote that both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey’s dismissal.
The Daily Beast’s report is corroborated by Michael Schmidt, a New York Times D.C. correspondent. Schmidt tweeted on Tuesday that senior administration officials told him the White House and the Justice Department had been working on firing Comey “since at least a week” ago.
Schmidt added that Sessions had been working to come up with reasons to fire Comey.
The former FBI director learned he was fired while he was giving a talk to FBI employees in Los Angeles — the news appeared on the television screens behind his head, reports The New York Times.