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Trump Abruptly Fires FBI Director James Comey

Trump Abruptly Fires FBI Director James Comey

James Comey
James Comey

Trump fires the man who some believe helped deliver him the presidency.


Donald Trump has fired FBI director James Comey.

"Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office," says a statement released by the White House, according to ABC News.

Comey's firing came even though some credit him with helping Trump win the presidency by announcing 11 days before the election that the FBI had uncovered further information relating to its investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of State. There turned out to be nothing pertinent to the investigation, but the announcement may have raised questions in some voters' minds about Clinton's credibility -- something Clinton mentioned as recently as last week. And Comey overstated his case about this information just this week in a Senate hearing.

However, immediately before his dismissal, Comey was overseeing an investigation into Russia's attempts to influence the election, and whether Russian operatives had ties to the Trump campaign.

Trump has been critical of Comey, who decided not to bring criminal charges against Clinton, while stating that her use of the private server was "extremely careless."

"FBI Director Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds! The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?" Trump said over the course of two tweets May 2. The next day, reporters questioned White House press secretary Sean Spicer about Comey's status within the administration, and he said Trump had "complete confidence" in the FBI director.

Apparently, not anymore. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey's dismissal, saying in a memo, "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 judgment that he was mistaken. ... The Director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General's authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement." Obama appointee Loretta Lynch was attorney general at the time.

Trump's statement said he acted on the recommendations of Rosenstein and the current attorney general, Jeff Sessions. And a memo from the president to Comey says, "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau." Comey had been director since 2013.

Several elected officials and others found the timing of Comey's firing suspicious. "Comey should be immediately called to testify in an open hearing about the status of Russia/Trump investigation at the time he was fired," Democratic U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon tweeted. On CNN, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called the firing a "grotesque abuse of power."

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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