President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey over his apparent handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. The White House made the announcement Tuesday (May 9), with Trump sighting Comey’s inability to “effectively lead” the bureau as reasoning for the decision.
Comey was also leading the investigating Russia’s involvement in potentially swaying the 2016 election, and testified over the Clinton emails during a Senate committee hearing last week.
He reportedly found out that he was fired through the media. At the time, Comey was in Los Angeles to speak at an FBI event.
“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 a signed letter. “I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Trump booted Comey on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Press Secretary Sean Spicer revealed in a letter posted on the White House’s website.
“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,” Trump said.
In October, Trump praised Comey for reopening the Clinton email probe.
The native New Yorker, who was appointed in 2013 by President Barack Obama, has been commended and criticized by both Democrats and Republicans.
The search for a new director will begin “immediately,” the White House noted. Andrew McCabe will assume the role of acting director until further notice.