Trump fires FBI director James Comey

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired FBI Director James Comey.

In a signed letter, Trump informed Comey that he was "hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately," explaining that he reached the conclusion that Comey is "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," Trump told Comey in the letter. "I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said shortly before 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday that Comey was "notified a short time ago," but declined to say how Comey was notified. Comey's dismissal took effect immediately.

Spicer told reporters that Trump "accepted the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general," who both recommended Comey's "dismissal."

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the case for Comey's dismissal in a memorandum to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who agreed with the recommendation and passed it along to Trump.

At the center of Rosenstein's rationale for recommending Comey's firing was Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, namely his decision to recommend no charges be filed and the news conference he held to explain his reasoning.

Rosenstein accused Comey of attempting to "usurp the attorney general's authority" by publicly announcing why he felt the case should be closed without prosecution.

"Compounding the error, the director ignored another longstanding principle: We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation," Rosenstein argued in his memo.

"We should reject the departure and return to the traditions (of the bureau)," Rosenstein said. "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 trust until it has a director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them."

The White House said it will immediately launch the search for a new FBI director.

A senior administration official said most White House officials were not apprised of Comey's firing throughout the day, including fairly senior advisers.

But this seems to be among the leading reasons why Trump's schedule was all but empty Monday and Tuesday.

The President started calling key congressional leaders late today -- key senators and others -- but it was kept quiet until then.

Comey was appointed FBI director by President Barack Obama in 2013.

In so doing, he elevated a Republican law enforcement veteran who had been critical of the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush to the top domestic investigative and surveillance organization, among the most powerful posts in the world.

In the decades since former FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, the controversial director who brought FBI into the modern era, law enforcement has avoided the appearance of influencing politics the way Hoover did.

But Comey's decision to thrust himself repeatedly into the 2016 election, put him at odds with the FBI's general decision to stay away from the political spotlight.

Comey made the decision in July to go public with his recommendation that the Justice Department not pursue any charges against Clinton or her former staffers over her email practices as secretary of state. However, he also took the opportunity to rebuke Clinton at length as being "extremely careless" with sensitive information.

Then-candidate Trump had talked up the investigation until this point, at which time he and his campaign derided Comey for the "political" decision.

Just days away from the election, Comey jumped into the race again. He informed Congress, via letter, that the FBI had re-opened its investigation into Clinton. The decision was made because of its investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is married to Clinton confidant Huma Abedin. Comey followed up days later with another letter, informing Congress that the FBI didn't find anything and continued to believe Clinton's practices did not merit the pursuance of any criminal charges.

After Clinton's loss, former President Bill Clinton blamed Comey for it, as have many Clinton staffers, at least in part.

Over the last few months there has been tension between Justice Department leadership and senior staff of FBI regarding the handling of the Clinton investigation and how Comey was running the agency, according to multiple officials.

One Justice Department official suggested there could be more changes coming at the FBI.

"There is a lot of cleaning house that needs to be done," one official said.

61 comments

    • MisterPL

      Since we already spent a year and a half fruitlessly investigating Clinton, how about we let the FBI spend at least that much time investigating 45’s ties to Russia. You know, without firing anybody who gets too close to the truth this time.

      • Lets Be Honest...

        Whats wrong with ties to Russia. You’d prefer Hillary and be in the middle of WW3 with Russia?

      • Roger Ebert

        Oh, God, no. It’s a conspiracy. It’s a cover up by the PSP and the media. Oh, wait, that was Eric Frein’s sister. Oh, no, the Russians send 7MM people over here to vote, PLUS they rigged all of the machines to elect DJT. Then (Oh, Lord, when will it end?) the Trib pulled back all of the news and buried it deep down below Steamtown Mall. It that enough conspiracy stuff for you?

        Get a grip. Have a nice day. Read a book.

    • McCracken

      Trump, himself, said he has no interest in pushing for her indictment. It’s one of the many promises he’s walked back. Like, when he promised, “I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes, or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.” Watch the 60 minutes interview. He promises better, and more affordable coverage, for all. His words; not mine.

  • Jeff Woehrle

    Remember when democrats like Chuck Schumer said Comey should be fired?
    Liberal outrage is amusing…and fleeting.

    • J (@ds18301)

      Why is this a “liberal” issue? The underlying issue here is the apparent attempt to throw our democracy under the bus. This is a test of the very institutions that exist to protect the integrity of our government. That should concern everyone independent of your point of view. I never liked certain aspects of Cromey’s behavior, but (as Schumer said in his speech) the bigger question here is the timing, method (actions by Sessions) and lack of justification.

      By the way, I would hope the time for the puerile name-calling that seems to dominate Trump’s apologists will stop — it serves no useful purpose.

      • Real American

        Dont even start with throwing democracy under the bus. That’s been Hilary’s plan, Obama’s doing, and liberal 101 since the start.

  • Lets Be Honest...

    I honestly don’t understand why being closer to Russia is such a big issue… Hilary was going to start WW3 with them. we should be working together with the other superpowers… not playing political chess…

  • Are you kidding!?!

    First the Dems love him when he lets Hillary off the hook. Then, they hate him with the letter to Congress about reopening the investigation. Now they love him when he is removed.
    It appears the Democrats are politically Bi-Polar with selective amnesia.

    • E

      Yes, unlike the republicans that loved him until he stated that no charges were warranted against Clinton, then hated him, then loved him again when the Weiner emails came out right before the election, now they hate him again for the Russia investigation. Somehow this is less bi-polar than the democrats?? Can’t spell Big Hypocrites without GOP. Willful ignorance.

      • Are you kidding!?!

        I thought Comey was incompetent the moment he decided to not indict Clinton. Even though there was more than enough evidence. The problem with most “informed voters” is they get their information from 20-30 second sound bites and form an opinion around them without further research. Or regardless of the information, “they just don’t like the person and nothing will change that”. Of course, the last option is the Clinton voters still have not gotten over the loss.

  • john williams

    Comey refused to investigate The President’s wiretap claims, in step with the Deep State, DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GTX

    And the swamp starts to get smaller. I really like the way The president called the democrats and told them what he intended to do and they all agreed it was the right thing. Then they throw him under the Bus. I would have expected nothing less from them. 2 Faced

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    Democrats in Oct. 2016: “Fire James Comey!”

    Democrats in May 2017: “How dare you fire James Comey!”

    • MisterPL

      Republicans in Oct. 2016: “Comey’s doing a great job!”

      Republicans in May 2017: “Comey needed to go!”

      Oh, look. More divisiveness.

      • jimbrony

        Cite your quote / claim, otherwise you’re just full of hot air and rhetoric. Divisiveness? Oh, that thing that Obama started – thanks for the reminder.

      • magicmikexxsm

        Hey dummy MISTERPL, you know why Trump fired Comey the Homey????? because of the Huma report saying she received thousands of emails classified on the wieners computer, only to find out a few weeks ago it was only a few…….but nice bloviating on your part..

  • Gary Roberts

    The FBI has become a running joke under Comey’s wishy washy leadership. He was fired for the ongoing incompetence. The Russian connection is a farce. Even James Clapper testified there’s nothing there.

  • WarningFakeNews

    Comey took pretzel logic to a whole new level, but the behavior he exhibited was classic for someone who’s been bought.

Comments are closed.