Late this afternoon, President Trump did something he should have done a long time ago — fire FBI director James Comey.
The New York Post reports that the reason given is Comey’s mishandling of the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
In 2013, Comey was nominated by Obama to a 10-year term as FBI director.
Trump issued a statement, saying the FBI needed fresh leadership:
“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.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote in a memo explaining Comey’s dismissal:
“The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice. 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. Almost everyone agrees that the director made serious mistakes; it is one of the few issues that unites people of diverse perspectives.’’
Trump acted based on the recommendations of both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who wrote in a memo to the President:
“I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI. I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, Jr. and identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI.’’
Trump also sent a letter breaking the news to Comey:
“I received the attached letters from the attorney general and deputy attorney general 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.”
Trump then expressed his appreciation to Comey for telling him he was not the target of an FBI investigation:
“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. It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
He then wished Comey “the best of luck in your future endeavors.”
Meanwhile, the FBI’s investigation of possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign and administration will continue.
Update (May 10, 2017):
Investigative journalist Charles C. Johnson says according to “sources close to the White House,” Trump fired Comey to send a message to that POS, Sen. John McCain:
- Earlier this year, McCain went after Trump with widely discredited opposition research (the made-up intelligence dossier that Trump hired Russian hookers to pee on a hotel bed) that he immediately shared with Comey, his longtime friend.
- McCain has been working with Comey to undermine Trump since Trump was elected.
- McCain has used his position as chairman on the U.S. Senate Armed Services to veto Trump’s national defense picks.
- McCain was keeping alive the faux Russia investigation to hurt Trump.
It is noteworthy that Trump deliberately kept Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer in the dark to keep them from leaking the impending firing of Comey — which suggests Trump suspects Priebus and Spicer of being leakers.