President Trump Fires FBI Director

James Comey, left, removed from office by President Trump, right

James Comey, left, removed from office by President Trump, right

President Trump, who said he was acting on the recommendation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, has fired director of the FBI, James Comey.

In a memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein criticized Comey’s serious misjudgment in announcing at a July 2016 news conference that the FBI would not seek charges against Democratic Presidential nominee Clinton following the investigation of her use of a personal email server, and for his disclosure in October 2016 that the FBI had reopened that investigation. By doing so, Rosenstein stated, Comey was attempting to usurp the attorney general’s authority. He wrote, “The goal of a federal investigation is not to announce our thoughts at a press conference” and “The FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.”

Critics say the dismissal is less about Comey’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s email practices and more about Comey’s: 1) not confirming in March that Trump associates were not under investigation for possible ties to Russian government officials; 2) not supporting Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama spied on him; and 3) getting too close to the White House with the Russia probe.

Law enforcement sources said Comey learned he had been fired from televisions tuned to the news while he spoke to an FBI workforce in Los Angeles. He called his office to get confirmation.

Trump informed Comey in a letter that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately,” because he concluded that Comey was unable to “effectively lead the bureau” and “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”

In a farewell letter from Comey to friends and colleagues, Comey said he does not plan to dwell on the decision to fire him or on “the way it was executed.”

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