Trump 'essentially declared war' by firing James Comey, but the worst may be yet to come

The fallout from FBI director James Comey's dismissal appears to be just getting started.

Multiple news outlets on Wednesday night began detailing the months, weeks, and days leading up to President Donald Trump's bombshell decision to kick Comey out of the bureau. The action has already produced shockwaves worldwide but, as told by a number of US officials, the worst may be yet to come.

Reaction from Justice Department and FBI officials ranged from "raw anger" to fear, according to The Washington Post. Trump "essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI," said one official cited by the newspaper.

"I think there will be a concerted effort to respond over time in kind," the unnamed official said. It was not immediately clear what that official was implying.

Amid the White House's conflicting narratives in the immediate aftermath of Comey's firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was said to have threatened to resign, The Post said, citing an unnamed source close to the White House, after Rosenstein was painted as the "prime mover" of the decision to get rid of Comey.

The narrative emerging from sources cited by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Post on Wednesday described Trump as having grown increasingly angry with Comey, who was the most visible US official in ongoing investigations of potential collusion between Trump associates and Russia.

Reaction to Trump's firing of James Comey
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Reaction to Trump's firing of James Comey
But does anyone seriously believe @realDonaldTrump fired the top person investigating his ties to Russia because he was unfair to Hillary?
Trump firing Comey shows how frightened the Admin is over Russia investigation
Gov. John Kasich statement on James Comey
Removal of Director Comey only confirms need for select cmte to investigate #Russia's interference in 2016 election
EVERYONE who cares about independence & rule of law in America should be "troubled by the timing and reasoning" of…
This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.
Firing of Comey tainted by extraordinary conflict of interest. Independent prosecutor must be appointed to restore…
First Pres Trump fired Sally Yates, then Preet Bharara. Now #Comey. Doesn't seem like an accident. We must have a special prosecutor.
If we don't get a special prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up.
We are in a full-fledged constitutional crisis.
Comey's fired, which means Trump must be one of the few people in DC that the FBI doesn't have something on.
My statement on James Comey
Elijah Cummings is calling for "immediate emergency hearings".
LEAHY: "This is nothing less than Nixonian."
Sen. John McCain on Comey firing: "I regret that that took place. The president does have that authority, so I resp…
Statement on FBI Director Comey ➡
This should not be sugar coated. Firing Comey is up there in terms of the scariest things Trump has done.
I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of Director Comey’s termination.
My staff and I are reviewing legislation to establish an independent commission on Russia. The second paragraph of…
Ds were against Comey before they were for him.
U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ Statement on Director Comey #mepolitics
Firing Comey has the foul stench of an attempt to stop an ongoing investigation into collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

"To a president obsessed with loyalty, Mr. Comey was a rogue operator who could not be trusted as the FBI investigated Russian ties to Mr. Trump's campaign," The Times reported.

Comey gave explosive testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, offering broad themes of some of the FBI's work in the Trump-Russia investigation. During that testimony, Comey also said that it made him "mildly nauseous" knowing that his handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe last year may have had an impact on the US presidential election.

That admission, The Times said, set Trump off: "Mr. Trump burned as he watched, convinced that Mr. Comey was grandstanding." The president reportedly took Comey's remark as a slight against his November electoral victory.

The Russia probe has remained a thorn in Trump's side. The president has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing — at points chastising lawmakers and the US intelligence community's work on the matter.

Multiple people have been entangled in the Russia investigation, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

Carter Page, once a Trump foreign-policy adviser, is also among the persons of interest, as well as former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who during his confirmation hearings failed to disclose campaign-trail meetings he had with a Russian ambassador, has recused himself from Russia-related investigative matters.

In his dismissal letter to Comey on Tuesday night, Trump claimed that Comey informed him, "on three separate occassions," that he was not under investigation,but according to Comey associates cited by The Wall Street Journal, that assertion was inaccurate.

"They said Mr. Comey never gave Mr. Trump any such guidance, which would violate longstanding policies on criminal investigations."

"That is literally farcical," one associate said of Trump's assertion.

The accounts were given as the Justice Department interviewed five candidates to take over as interim FBI director on Wednesday. Current acting director Andrew McCabe was among the them, in addition to FBI managers from Chicago and Virginia The Journal reported.

A permanent replacement will require Senate confirmation, a process that may be fraught with conflict in a deeply divided chamber.

NOW WATCH: Here's why some Democrats are comparing Comey's firing to the Watergate scandal

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SEE ALSO: Here's the farewell letter James Comey just sent his former FBI colleagues

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