Why Did Trump Fire James Comey? 5 Facts to Know About the President's Strained Relationship With the FBI

FBI Director James Comey testifies during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation" on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 3. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Long before FBI Director James Comey was fired Tuesday, President Donald Trump had complaints about how the nation's top law enforcement agency was run. Among the investigations Comey was overseeing was a counterintelligence probe into possible connections between Trump and his associates and Russia and its hacking attacks targeting the U.S. presidential campaign.

Related: Who Will Be the New FBI Director Now That James Comey Has Been Fired?

The White House announced Comey's termination in a letter, asserting the director was "not able to effectively lead" the FBI. "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission," Trump wrote. "I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."

Comey was reportedly fired because of how he handled a probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email. “The president has accepted the recommendation of the Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in the briefing room. Spicer said Comey was “notified a short time ago” and that it was effective “immediately.” 

Here are five reasons Trump the presidential candidate and the commander-in-chief was not a big fan of Comey.

1. Comey decided Clinton wasn't a criminal, an idea Trump rejected. Comey told lawmakers in Congress last week he felt "mildly nauseous" about how his investigation into Clinton's emails affected the election. But Trump wasn't in a forgiving mood. Trump said Comey gave Clinton “a free pass for many bad deeds’’ because he did not pursue criminal charges in the case. 

2. Comey was looking into Trump's ties to Russia. Comey announced in March, just two months into the new White House administration, that he was investigating the Russian government's efforts to meddle with the 2016 presidential election. “That includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts," Comey said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Trump has dismissed the allegations. “James Clapper and others stated that there is no evidence Potus colluded with Russia,” Trump wrote on Twitter last week, referring to the former director of national intelligence. “This story is FAKE NEWS and everyone knows it!”

3. Comey implied Trump was a liar. Comey said the president's claims that former President Barack Obama “wiretapped” him at Trump Tower in New York were not based on FBI evidence. “I have no information that supports those tweets,” Comey told lawmakers, adding that he asked around and the answer was “the same for the Department of Justice and all its components: The department has no information that supports those tweets.”

4. Comey, a Republican, allegedly was pro-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...," Trump tweeted last week.

5. Trump didn't really want Comey in that role. Asked in April during a Fox Business Network interview if it was too late to ask Comey to resign, the president said, “No, it’s not too late,” adding, “We will see what happens. It’s going to be interesting."

It didn't stop there. 

“Don’t forget, when Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton,” Trump said. “People don’t realize that. He saved her life. I call it ‘Comey 1’ and I joke about it a little bit. When he was reading those charges, she was guilty of every charge. Then, he said that she was intentionally okay,” he went on. “Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton. That I can tell you. If he weren’t, she would be, right now, going to trial.”