U.S. President Donald Trump ignited a political firestorm on Tuesday by firing FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into the Trump 2016 presidential campaign’s possible collusion with Russia to influence the election outcome.
The remarkable dismissal came in a signed letter from Trump to Comey that said it was time for a “new beginning” at the nation’s “crown jewel of law enforcement.”
“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 lead the Bureau,” Trump wrote.
The move sent the political world into a frenzy, sparking outrage from Democrats, who said Trump was attempting to shut down the FBI’s investigation.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and others called the firing “Nixonian,” while Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) called it “Trump’s ‘Tuesday Afternoon Massacre’” and “an abuse of power.”
Both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended Comey’s dismissal, citing “substantial damage” to the FBI’s reputation and credibility under his leadership. Specifically, they cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server that roiled the presidential election last year.”