WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump fired controversial FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
Trump dismissed Comey in part over his handling of probes of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server for her emails. Comey is also overseeing the FBI investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
Trump said in a letter to Comey,”While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
Spicer said in a statement, “Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office. President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“The FBI is one of our Nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” said Trump in the statement.
Spicer said Comey’s departure is effective immediately.
In a Tuesday memo to Sessions, Rosenstein wrote, “The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trusted until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.”
Comey was named to a 10-year term on June 21, 2013, by former President Obama. He Comey was confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2013, and took office on September 4, 2013
A search for a new permanent FBI Director will begin immediately, Spicer said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a statement, “Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well. I encourage the President to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests.”
This a developing story. Please check back for more details.