“You are hereby terminated and rem
oved from office, effective immediately,” Trump told Comey in a personally signed letter obtained by NBC News.
“While I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” the president wrote.
The FBI has been investigating allegations that people involved with Trump’s presidential campaign had undisclosed ties to Russia. Democrats, including several with ties to Clinton’s unsuccessful presidential campaign, immediately called for an independent counsel to take over the investigation.
“Everyone will suspect [a] coverup” otherwise, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York said at a hastily called news conference: “Given the way the president fired Director Comey, any person appointed to replace him should be concerned that he or she will suffer the same fate if they run afoul of the Trump administration.”
Schumer said he’d personally told Trump “I think you’ve made a mistake.”
But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that Trump acted “on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.” He said a search for a new FBI director will begin “immediately.”
“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,” the statement quoted Trump as saying.
- NBC Nightly News