Who is James Comey? Things to know about the former FBI director

Former FBI Director James Comey sat this week for what will be his first televised interview since his abrupt dismissal last year.

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Comey's interview with George Stephanopoulos is scheduled to air Sunday on ABC. Comey has interviews scheduled with CNN and MSNBC on April 19, with Fox News on April 26 and with PBS on April 30. His new book, "A Higher Loyalty," is set for release Tuesday.

Comey’s firing sparked suspicion among Trump’s critics and lawmakers worried that the president might use his power to influence the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to Trump or his campaign advisers. Less than two weeks after Comey’s dismissal, deputy U.S. attorney general Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the investigation.

Here are some things to know about Comey:

  • Comey earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry and religion at the College of William and Mary, where he currently works as an executive professor in education. He earned his law degree in 1985 at the University of Chicago Law School.
  • Comey is 6 feet 8 inches tall.
  • Comey previously served as a U.S. attorney in New York and Virginia.
  • President George W. Bush nominated Comey in 2003 to serve as deputy attorney general. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate later that year. He held that position until 2005, when he left to serve as general counsel and senior vice president for defense contractor Lockheed Martin.
  • President Barack Obama in 2013 appointed Comey as director of the FBI. Among other investigations, he oversaw the probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while in office.
  • He faced criticism during and after the 2016 presidential election for his handling of the Clinton investigation. His decision to release a letter to Congress informing lawmakers of newly uncovered Clinton emails just weeks before the election had a strong impact on the vote, according to analysts. Comey said two days before the election that nothing new or incriminating was found in the emails.
  • Trump fired Comey in May 2017, 10 months into the investigation into Russian meddling and its possible ties to Trump. The White House denied that the dismissal was related to the Russia investigation, although Trump later told NBC News that he had "this Russia thing" on his mind when making the decision.
  • Comey said in congressional testimony last year that he felt Trump tried to get him to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign less than a month into his tenure after it was revealed that he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contact with Russian officials. Trump has denied the allegation.