CHICAGO (CBS) — President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
“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 statement.
Trump acted based on clear recommendations of both the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, according to the White House Press Secretary’s Office.
“I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI. It is essential that this Department of Justice reaffirm its commitment to longstanding principles that ensure the integrity and fairness of federal investigations and prosecutions,” Sessions said in a statement to Trump.
“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 said in a letter to Comey. “It it essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
The White House says the search for a new FBI director will begin immediately. According to Sessions, “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.”
Comey’s firing comes days after he testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
Since the presidential campaign, Comey, a 56-year-old former federal prosecutor and law professor, has come under a firestorm of criticism from both democrats and republicans.
He was appointed by President Obama in 2013 for what was expected to be a ten-year term.