President Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

President Trump abruptly gave the FBI director his walking papers, sending shockwaves throughout Washington.
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President Trump abruptly gave the FBI director his walking papers, sending shockwaves throughout Washington.
James Comey in 2016

F.B.I Director James Comey swears in to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., in July 2016 to testify about his findings regarding Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

President Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey yesterday. The president said he based his decision on recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who asserted that Comey should be dismissed over his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. 

In a letter to Comey, who was fired in the midst of leading the investigation into whether any Trump advisors colluded with Russia to influence the presidential election, President Trump stated: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate 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.”

Donald Trump and James Comey in January 2017

President Donald Trump shakes hands with FBI director James Comey in the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on January 22, 2017. In an April 12 interview with Fox News, the president said of Comey: “I have confidence in him. We’ll see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”

The letter was delivered to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., however, Comey who was addressing FBI employees in Los Angeles, reportedly found out about his dismissal from a television news report. The announcement sent shockwaves throughout the government with critics saying Comey's dismissal is reminiscent of the "Saturday Night Massacre" in 1973 when President Richard Nixon called for the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate Scandal which eventually led to Nixon's resignation.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters at a press conference “every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire Director Comey was part of a cover-up.” In response to his critics, the president took to Twitter to defend his decision: 

As the Trump administration searches for a replacement to head the FBI, Democrats are calling for a special prosecutor into the investigation of ties between Trump’s campaign and Russia while some top Republicans, including Senators John McCain of Arizona and Richard Burr of North Carolina, are calling for a special congressional committee to investigate Russian interference.