PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
02:09
Trump's up and down relationship with Comey
PHOTO: Getty Images
Now playing
01:12
Trump: I didn't fire Comey because of Russia
Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:20
Memos add new details to Comey's story
Conway Cuomo 04162018
Conway Cuomo 04162018
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:48
Conway: All Comey had to do was keep mouth shut
Now playing
01:22
Toobin: Comey's account devastating for Trump
Rick Santorum
Rick Santorum
Now playing
01:29
Santorum rips Comey's 'tell-nothing' book
PHOTO: Team Coco
Now playing
03:50
Comey on Conan: Trump spy claims are made up
PHOTO: photo illustration: getty images/flatiron books/allie schmitz/cnn
Now playing
01:44
Trump unloads on Twitter at Comey
Now playing
04:46
Cooper questions Trump's respect for the law
Kellyanne Conway newday 04162018
Kellyanne Conway newday 04162018
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
02:01
Conway: Comey's FBI was a hot mess
comey abc 2
comey abc 2
PHOTO: ABC
Now playing
02:49
Comey: Briefing Trump felt like out-of-body experience
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former FBI Director James Comey leaves a closed session with the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former FBI Director James Comey leaves a closed session with the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Now playing
00:52
White House: Comey a 'disgraced partisan hack'
PHOTO: ABC
Now playing
02:04
Comey: Trump unfazed by Russian meddling
PHOTO: CNN
Now playing
01:20
Clapper: Comey accounts are accurate
PHOTO: CNN Illustration/Getty Images
Now playing
02:08
Comey details 2017 meeting with Trump in book
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: U.S. President Donald Trump (L) shakes hands with James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during an Inaugural Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders Reception in the Blue Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump today mocked protesters who gathered for large demonstrations across the U.S. and the world on Saturday to signal discontent with his leadership, but later offered a more conciliatory tone, saying he recognized such marches as a "hallmark of our democracy." (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Pool/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
02:21
Trump and Comey's ups and downs
Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Ousted FBI director James Comey listens during a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
02:25
Timeline of Trump firing James Comey

Story highlights

FBI Director Comey the latest official to fall foul of Trump mid-investigation

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates and US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara had previously been dismissed

(CNN) —  

After President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, questions immediately arose about the President’s motivations for his dismissal – and for the recent firings of two other then-President Barack Obama-appointees who were in the middle of conducting investigations linked to Trump.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Comey’s firing was part of a “deeply troubling pattern from the Trump administration,” that appears to be linked to two other high-profile dismissals.

“They fired Sally Yates. They fired Preet Bharara. And they fired James Comey, the very man leading he investigation. This does not seem to be a coincidence,” Schumer said shortly after the announcement, calling for a special independent prosecutor into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin.

“Any person who he appoints to lead the Russian investigation will be concerned that he or she will meet the same fate as Director Comey,” he said.

Behind the scenes of Comey’s epic firing

CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was not buying the idea that Comey was sacked over the Clinton investigation, saying it was “absurd.”

Toobin branded the move a “grotesque abuse of power by the President of the United States,” comparing the sacking of Comey to President Richard Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox during the Watergate scandal.

How to get fired by the President of the United States

James Comey

Then-FBI Director James Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Then-FBI Director James Comey testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an oversight hearing on Capitol Hill May 3, 2017 in Washington, DC.
PHOTO: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The FBI director saw his reputation compromised when he became embroiled in the 2016 election campaign. He was first criticized by Republicans when he announced he wouldn’t be charging then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her emails, and then by Democrats for publicly reopening the case days before Americans went to the polls.

Why was he fired?

The Trump administration attributed Comey’s dismissal to his handling of the investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. In a signed letter released by the White House, Trump informed Comey that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” explaining that he reached the conclusion that the erstwhile director was “not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

What was he investigating?

As head of the FBI, he was overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to the Kremlin. Democrats have ridiculed the notion that the Clinton issue is what truly prompted Comey’s dismissal, drawing parallels to Watergate-era firings and suggesting Comey was getting too close to the White House with the Russia probe.

Where is the investigation now?

At a hearing last week, Comey confirmed that the FBI’s investigation into accusations of coordination between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials was continuing. It’s not clear if the incoming FBI director will pick up where Comey left off.

Opinion: In firing Comey, Trump is playing with fire

Sally Yates

Former US Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judicary Committee
Former US Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates testifies before the Senate Judicary Committee's Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism on Capitol Hill May 8.
PHOTO: Eric Thayer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images

Appointed by Obama, former Deputy Attorney General Yates had been running Trump’s Justice Department as Acting Attorney General while Trump’s nominee for the role, Sen. Jeff Sessions, awaited confirmation. She became a household name when Trump abruptly removed her from the temporary position.

Why was she fired?

Ostensibly for her refusal to implement the first iteration of Trump’s ban on travelers from a number of Muslim-majority countries.

“The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement at the time, explaining the President’s actions.

What was she investigating?

As part of the probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump administration, then-acting Attorney General Yates met with White House counsel to inform them that then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn wasn’t telling the truth about his interactions with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and, as a result, represented a blackmail risk.

“We believed that General Flynn was compromised with respect to the Russians,” Yates said in a Senate subcommittee hearing aimed at gathering details of the Russian hacking of the 2016 election on Monday in Washington.

“Logic would tell you that you don’t want the national security adviser to be in a position where the Russians have leverage over him,” she added.

Where is the investigation now?

Yates said Monday that she warned the White House earlier this year that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn could be “essentially blackmailed by the Russians.”

What to know about Sally Yates

Preet Bharara

Preet Bharara, then-US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, at the US Attorney
Preet Bharara, then-US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, at the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York in June 2016.
PHOTO: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Late night hosts respond to Comey’s firing

Preet Bharara, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, was known as one of Wall Street’s fiercest watchdogs and a widely respected prosecutor.

Why was he fired?

Bharara first refused to resign along with 46 US attorneys across the country. Although it is common for incoming administrations to replace US attorneys when transitioning to power, Trump had previously assured Bharara that he’d keep his job.

Sources told CNN that Bharara had been told after a meeting with Trump in November that he could stay on, and that he felt blindsided by the request. He was fired after refusing to comply.

At the time, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren posted a series of tweets suggesting Bharara was removed in part because he “had authority over Trump Tower.”

Bharara suggested that this was indeed the case. “I wanted it to be on record that there was a deliberate decision to change (his) mind and fire me, particularly given what my office’s jurisdiction is,” he said.

What was he investigating?

Bharara’s office had many investigations ongoing at the time of his firing, including one involving Trump favorite Fox News.

And then there’s the President’s claim that he was wiretapped in Trump Tower on orders of then-President Obama, whose investigation led back to the Southern District of New York.

“Trump has undoubtedly decided that he wants his own pick rather than the choice of Senate adversary (and minority leader) Chuck Schumer in place as the top federal prosecutor in New York,” CNN legal analyst Paul Callan wrote in March.

Where is the investigation now?

Members of both parties have said they have seen no evidence to back up Trump’s allegations about Obama, and, addressing a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said that he had “no information” to support claims by the President that he was wiretapped on the orders of his predecessor.

Opinion: After firing Preet Bharara, President Trump beware

CNN’s Laura Jarrett, Jake Tapper, Stephen Collinson, Jeff Zeleny and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.