White House and Justice Department officials "had been working on building a case against [Comey] since at least last week," according to the Times, which cited administration officials. The report said Attorney General Jeff Sessions "had been charged with coming up with reasons to fire him."
President Donald Trump fired Comey on Tuesday, telling him in a letter "it is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission." In letters released publicly, Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended that Comey be fired due to his conduct in the investigation into Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information at the State department.
Several lawmakers questioned the timing of Comey's removal because the FBI is investigating Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, including any possible links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump had only received the memo from Rosenstein on Tuesday and decided to fire Comey based on it.