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:
March 2, 2015
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.
April 12, 2015
Clinton announces she is running for president.
July 23, 2015
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.
Late April, 2016
Officials at the Democratic National Committee learn that Russian hackers have invaded their computer system.
July 5, 2016
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.
July 7, 2016
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.
July 27, 2016
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.
November 6, 2016
Days before the election, Comey sends a letter to Congress saying that the new emails did not contain any new information.
November 8, 2016
Trump is elected president.
March 20, 2017
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.
May 3, 2017
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.”
May 8, 2017
ProPublica reports that Comey exaggerated the number of emails that Abedin sent to Weiner.
May 9, 2017
The Washington Post and the Associated Press report that none of the emails were designated as classified when they were sent.
May 9, 2017
The FBI sends a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley correcting details from Comey’s testimony.
May 9, 2017
Trump announces that Comey has been dismissed.