Trump Fires FBI Director Comey

May 10, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, saying he is no longer able to effectively lead the agency.

"It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission," Trump said in a letter to Comey released by the White House late Tuesday.

A search for a new FBI director will begin "immediately," the White House said.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters, "The president has accepted the recommendation of the attorney general and the deputy attorney general regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

FBI directors are appointed for a single 10-year term. The 56-year-old Comey was appointed four years ago.

Earlier Tuesday, the FBI notified Congress that Comey overstated a key finding in the investigation of Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails during his congressional testimony last week. It said Comey erred when he told a congressional investigative panel that a Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, had sent "hundreds and thousands" of Clinton's emails from the 2009 to 2013 period she was the U.S. secretary of state to Abedin's estranged husband, disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner. The actual number was far fewer, officials said.

Comey, played a pivotal role in last year's U.S. presidential election, in which Trump defeated Clinton.

Last July, Comey said Clinton was "extremely careless" in her handling of national security emails while she was the country's top diplomat, but that no criminal charges were warranted.

Then, in late October, just before the election, Comey said he was reopening the investigation because the FBI had discovered the Clinton emails on Weiner's computer.

Clinton blamed Comey's reopened probe so close to Election Day on November 8 as one of the reasons she lost the election. Two days ahead of the election, the FBI director said that after investigators reviewed the new batch of emails it had found nothing new and upheld its original finding that no criminal charges should be filed against Clinton.

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