FBI Director James Comey received a letter from President Donald Trump on Tuesday, May 9, informing him that he has been relieved of his duties just three years into his 10-year term.
The letter stated that while Trump appreciates Comey informing him three times that he is not under investigation, he agreed with the recommendation coming from his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to terminate Comey as head of the FBI.
“[I] concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” the letter from Trump stated.
Comey was dismissed from his position for his handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails during her run for the presidency of the United States. While Comey broke with bureau tradition and made the case against Clinton public during her presidential run, he was praised by Trump at the time of the investigation, who called the move “gutsy.”
Comey and Trump have conflicted in the last few months, specifically regarding Trump’s claims that then-President Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower during Trump’s campaign. Comey said that the FBI had no evidence to support these claims.
The firing was stated to have resulted from a loss of faith in the director due to his improper handling of the Clinton case.
Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General, stated that by making the case public he broke with tradition and also hurt the reputation of the FBI. Rosenstein also said Comey should have turned the evidence he had over to federal agents.
Comey was leading an investigation into connections between Russia and Trump and his cabinet. His dismissal will likely reinvigorate demands for a private investigation into the matter.
The president will almost assuredly look to replace Comey with an individual who is unlikely to continue the investigation regarding collusion between himself and Russia.