FBI Director James B. Comey has been dismissed by the president, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer - a startling move that officials said stemmed from a conclusion by Justice Department officials that he had mishandled the probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Comey was fired as he is leading a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether associates of President Trump may have coordinated with Russia to meddle with the presidential election last year. That probe began quietly last July but has now become the subject of intense debate in Washington. It is unclear how Comey’s dismissal will affect that investigation.
“The president has accepted the recommendation of the Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” Spicer told reporters in the briefing room.
Spicer also said that Comey was “notified a short time ago.” This is effective “immediately,” he said.
Officials released a Tuesday memo from the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, laying out the rationale behind Comey’s dismissal.
“The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,’’ Rosenstein wrote. “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.’’
In a letter to Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he agreed.
“I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI,’’ Sessions wrote. “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.’’
You can read the rest at the Washington Post.