US: Donald Trump abruptly fires FBI director James Comey
The move has led to calls for an impartial probe into the Republican candidate’s links to Russia during his campaign, which Comey was heading.
United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, purportedly because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton emails controversy. Comey had also been leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
A letter informing Comey of his dismissal was delivered to him by an aide of the White House, which said the decision made based on the advice of Attorney-General Jess Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein. It did not state exactly why he was being fired, merely saying he was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau”.
The letter reads as follows:
Dear Director Comey:
I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment 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.
I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.
Donald J. Trump
In its recommendation on firing Comey, the Justice Department told Trump that his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server had caused the public to lose faith in the FBI. Comey had several times – including right before the election – insinuated that Clinton had questionably used a private email server to send sensitive emails during her tenure as secretary of state. However, the FBI was never able to find actual evidence of criminal wrongdoing, which it had to admit on multiple occasions. Clinton had attributed her loss in the elections partly to Comey’s untimely revelations.
However, the move to fire Comey while the Russia-Trump campaign ties investigation is under way has led Democrats to call for an independent probe into the matter. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin said the White House needs to clarify whether the investigation would continue without Comey. “”Any attempt to stop or undermine this FBI investigation would raise grave constitutional issues.”
In his short tenure as president, Trump has let go of several key faces in his administration. In February, Trump had shunted out his National Security Advisor Mike Flynn after reports emerged that he had discussed the country’s sanctions with Russian officials. In January, less than two weeks after assuming office, Trump had fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for defying his first executive order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.