President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, according to a statement from the White House.
In a statement from the press office, the White House said Trump acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Borenstein.
“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,” Trump said in a statement announcing Comey’s termination.
In a letter to the president Tuesday, Sessions wrote that after an evaluation, he had concluded that “a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI.”
“It is essential that this Department of Justice clearly reaffirm its commitment to longstanding principles that ensure the integrity and fairness of federal investigations and prosecutions,” Sessions wrote. “The Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the Department.”
In his own memorandum to the Attorney General Tuesday, Borenstein said the reputation and credibility of the FBI had “suffered substantial damage” in the last year. The deputy attorney general cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server as a “textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”
The president also sent a letter to Comey Tuesday informing him he had been terminated effective immediately.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote. “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
Comey did not immediately release a statement confirming his dismissal.
Comey was appointed FBI Director by former president Barack Obama in September 2013.
He served as deputy attorney general under the George W. Bush administration from December 2003 until August 2005. Prior to that, he was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he prosecuted a number of major terrorism and criminal cases.
He also worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia from 1996 to 2001, and had served as general counsel and senior vice president for Lockheed Martin and general counsel for the investment firm Bridgewater Associates.
Comey became a controversial figure in the 2016 presidential race for the agency’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. He came under fire again days before the November 8 election when he announced the discovery of additional emails related to the investigation.
In March, Comey testified that the FBI was investigating the Russian government’s possible interference in the 2016 election, including the “nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”
During his appointment ceremony in October 2013, Comey described the obligation of the FBI as having to balance independence from “all political forces and interests” in the United States with its enforcement of the rule of law and the country’s system of checks and balances.
“You see, those three words — Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity — capture the essence of the FBI and its people. And they also explain why I am here,” Comey said at the time, according to a White House transcript. “I wanted to be here to work alongside those people, to represent them, to help them accomplish their mission, and to just be their colleague.”
This is a developing story.
Kristina Wong contributed to this report.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum
A new report says FBI Director James Comey misspoke last week when he said Hillary Clinton adviser Huma Abedin forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of Clinton’s emails to her husband Anthony Weiner — likely for him to print out for her.
Instead, the report by ProPublica said she forwarded “only a handful” of those emails to Weiner, and that the thousands of emails found on his laptop were “likely” as a “result of backups of her Blackberry.”
ProPublica cited “two sources familiar with the matter,” including one in “law enforcement.” It also said “other officials” speculated the reason was due to backing up her Blackberry to Weiner’s laptop.
According to the report, the FBI is now trying to figure out how to correct Comey’s statement that Abedin had forwarded that many emails to Weiner, and as a “regular practice.”
The FBI has not confirmed the reports.
The report stated that it was “not clear” whether any of the “handful” of emails Abedin did forward contained classified information, but a subsequent report by the Washington Post said they did contain classified information.
“None of the forwarded emails were marked classified, but a small number — a handful, one person said — contained information that was later judged to contain classified information,” the Post reported.
It is not specified in either report how much a “handful” is. And neither report would change the fact that FBI investigators had found metadata on his laptop that showed there were “thousands” of Clinton’s emails on the device.
Comey explained that FBI investigators believed that the emails could include the 30,000 missing from Clinton’s first three months in office, which they hoped would provide a clue to Clinton’s intent in setting up a private email server in her home to conduct official business.
Comey said after that, he agreed to seek a warrant to allow those emails to be reviewed, and felt compelled to announce to Congress the investigation had reopened, after telling members repeatedly that it had closed earlier that year.
Clinton has blamed that announcement, which came less than two weeks before the election, partially for her presidential campaign loss.
Comey said investigators did find “new stuff,” but nothing that changed their conclusion that they had no evidence to prove there was criminal intent.
After Comey’s comments, Republican senators have questioned why Abedin or Weiner have not been charged for mishandling classified information.
Abedin said on October 28 that she had no idea how her emails got on Weiner’s laptop, and that she had no idea they were there.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders said that FBI Director James Comey’s inability to control leaks out of the bureau was “one of many” reasons why President Donald Trump decided to fire him.
“I think that’s probably one of the many factors,” Sanders said in response to a question from Breitbart News during the White House press briefing. “I mean you can’t deny somebody that that wasn’t a problem, and so I think that was just another one of many reasons that he no longer had the confidence of the president or the rest of the FBI.”
Trump has repeatedly called attention to FBI leaks to the media about the investigation into his campaign for any collusion with Russia in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Sanders said that director Comey had “essentially taken a stick of dynamite” to the Justice Department after commenting publicly on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email investigation.
When asked if the president was prepared to fire more officials from the Justice Department, Sanders replied, “Not that I’m aware of today.”
Sanders described a gradual “erosion of trust” surrounding Comey since Trump was inaugurated, and that the president wanted to give him a chance despite the reservations he had about the director. She asserted that it was not true that Trump asked the Justice Department to put together a rationale for Comey’s firing.
“I did speak directly to the president and heard directly from him that he, again, had been considering letting Director Comey go pretty much since the day he took office, but that there was no request by him to have a review at the Department of Justice,” she said.
She said she was “surprised” by Democrats rushing to defend Comey, despite their insistence that he directly contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failure to win the presidency.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the election, which thank God she didn’t, but if she had and she had been in the same position, she had have fired Comey immediately and the very Democrats that are criticizing the president today would be dancing in the streets celebrating.”
Pollster and analyst Pat Caddell spoke with Breitbart News Daily SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Wednesday regarding President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.
Caddell said the hypocrisy of many Democrats reacting to the Comey firing is “enough to choke a horse.” He pointed out how many, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, are already on record as having no confidence in Comey.
“The notion that this is somehow relatable, or even comparable to what I was actually here for, which was what happened in the ‘Saturday Night Massacre,’ that’s when we jumped the shark, politically,” said Caddell.
Added Caddell, “The atmospherics going on, which I must say are really remarkable, the number of people who wanted Comey gone on the Democratic side, including Chuck Schumer, who announced that this was the end of the world once again confirmed for me the hypocrisy here is enough to choke a horse.”
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
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