In a startling move, US President Donald Trump today fired FBI chief James Comey, abruptly removing the top official leading a criminal probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
Trump explained his bombshell announcement by citing Comey’s handling of the investigation by America’s leading law enforcement agency into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was the secretary of state.
Comey, 56, who was four years into his 10-year term as FBI director, was informed by Trump that he was no longer effectively able to lead the bureau and it was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in it.
“You are hereby terminated and removed from the office, effective immediately,” Trump said in a letter to Comey. The President’s move comes days after Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling into the US elections and a possible collusion between Trump campaign and Moscow.
In recent days, Comey again came under fire for his handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server. Many Democrats believe that his announcement that he was re-opening the probe 11 days before the November 8 election cost Clinton the presidency.
In the letter, Trump acknowledged that Comey had informed him “on three separate occasions” that he was not under investigation. “I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” he added.
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