On Tuesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that FBI Director James Comey had been fired.
In the press release, Spicer announced that Comey had been fired by President Trump and that he acted “based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Resenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.”
Spicer said that the search for a new FBI director would begin immediately, naming no possible candidates.
comey…….. my boy…….. pic.twitter.com/D4kYGl1YXt
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) May 9, 2017
The letter Trump sent to Comey was also released on Tuesday afternoon in which he informs the now-fired director that he would be removed. Trump said that Comey was “not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” and that he wished him the “best of luck” in his future.
FBI Director Comey has been “terminated and removed from office.” pic.twitter.com/z2or0M6oJB
— Philip Crowther (@PhilipinDC) May 9, 2017
Neither Spicer nor Trump gave a reason for Comey’s termination besides saying that it was on the recommendation of his colleagues.
The letter sent by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to President Trump was made public on Tuesday afternoon and revealed that he believed Comey was no longer fit to lead the FBI thanks to the massive damage his recent actions had done to the Intelligence community at large.
“Over the past year however, the FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage. . . I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgement that he was mistaken.”
Repeatedly, Deputy AG Rosenstein accused Comey of acting wrongly and of refusing to accept responsibility for his actions. Rosenstein’s recommendation and its subsequent firing of Comey offers vindication to those who felt strongly that Comey’s actions shortly before the election were a major element in the election’s outcome.
Rosenstein said that he and many other colleagues on both sides of the aisle felt that his Comey’s decision to reveal information about the Clinton email investigation in a press conference was exactly the sort of thing that the FBI is not meant to do.
Senior FBI officials say that no one was aware the termination of Comey was incoming and that they are “in shock.”
Already, many are condemning the action by the President as a gross overreach, especially considering that Comey and the FBI are actively investigating the President.
It also appears suspicious that the President would have dismissed Comey for actions which ultimately helped him win the presidency – is Comey’s Clinton email conduct just a convenient excuse to oust a man who is actively investigating him to replace him with a more sympathetic figure?
Now, we await to see who is selected to replace Comey and what effect it will have on ongoing FBI investigations.