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Trump Fires FBI Director Who Helped His Election

James ComeyJames Comey

US President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI probe into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.

In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in FBI. Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year’s campaign, France24 reported.

Trump made no mention of Comey’s role in the Clinton investigation, which she has blamed in part for the election result that helped Trump become president. But in announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticizing Comey’s handling of the Clinton probe, including the director’s decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing “derogatory information” about Clinton.

This is only the second firing of an FBI director in history. President Bill Clinton dismissed William Sessions amid allegations of ethical lapses in 1993.

Democrats slammed Trump’s action, comparing it to President Richard Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre” decision to fire the independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate investigation in 1973, which prompted the resignations of the Justice Department’s top two officials.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Congress must form a special committee to investigate Russia’s interference in the election.

Trump will now appoint Comey’s successor. The White House said the search for a replacement was beginning immediately. Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, would presumably take over in the interim.

 

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