(Michael D. Shear and Matt Apuzza) President Trump has fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the White House said on Tuesday.
Mr. Comey was leading an investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
“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 effectively lead the bureau,” Mr. Trump said in a letter to Mr. Comey dated Tuesday.
“It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Mr. Trump wrote.
Officials at the F.B.I. said they were not immediately aware of Mr. Comey’s dismissal, which Mr. Trump described as effective immediately.
In a separate letter released at the White House, Mr. Spicer said that the president informed the director that he has been “terminated and removed from office.”
Memos released by the White House show that Rod J. Rosenstein, the newly sworn-in deputy attorney general, recommended that Mr. Comey be fired over how he disclosed the investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Comey broke with longstanding tradition and policies by discussing the case and chastising the Democratic presidential nominee’s “careless” handling of classified information. Then, in the campaign’s final days, Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. was reopening the case, a move that earned him widespread criticism.
“The F.B.I. 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,” Mr. Trump said in the statement.
A longtime prosecutor who served as the deputy attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Comey came into office with widespread bipartisan support.
Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a post on Twitter that Mr. Comey “should be immediately called to testify in an open hearing about the status of Russia/Trump investigation at the time he was fired.”
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