The White House announced that President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said President Trump acted on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Comey came under fire during the general election for his handling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He angered conservatives by announcing that no criminal charges would be filed even though the FBI found the improper handling of classified documents by the Secretary of State. He later angered liberals by reopening the investigation shortly before election day.
The Attorney General determined that Comey could no longer effectively lead the Bureau.
“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,” President Trump said in a released statement.
The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation typically serves one ten-year term under at least two administrations to keep the office non-partisan.
Comey was a bipartisan favorite for the role when appointed. He had served as Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush.
“Over the course of the last several months, Director Comey’s decisions on controversial matters have prompted concern from across the political spectrum and from career law enforcement experts,” U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a released statement.
“The handling of the Clinton email investigation is a clear example of how Comey’s decisions have called into question the trust and political independence of the FBI. In my efforts to get answers, the FBI, under Comey’s leadership, has been slow or failed to provide information that Comey himself pledged to provide.
“The effectiveness of the FBI depends upon the public trust and confidence. Unfortunately, this has clearly been lost.
“The FBI Director serves at the pleasure of the president. Under these circumstances, President Trump accepted the recommendation of the Justice Department that the Director lacked the confidence needed to carry out his important duties,” Grassley added.