Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 20:51:54-04

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, saying it was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the nation's top law enforcement agency following several tumultuous months.

"The FBI 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," Trump said in a statement.

The White House said the search for a new FBI director was beginning immediately.

The White House made the stunning announcement shortly after the FBI corrected a sentence in Comey's sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. Comey told lawmakers that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information.

On Tuesday, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that only "a small number" of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said.

Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term. Praised for his independence and integrity, Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement and has been no stranger to controversy.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he told Trump, "You're making a big mistake" when he learned of the plan to fire Comey.

Local lawmakers had mixed reaction.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement saying he looked forward "to a full, fair and timely confirmation process to fill the director position" once the Senate receives a nomination.

"This is a critical role that is especially important as America faces serious threats at home and abroad," McConnell said in the statement.

Sen. Sherrod Brown released a statement saying that Comey's tenure was "marred by questionable judgment." He also said he wanted to know more about why Comey was fired in the midst "of an investigation into the White House's ties to Russia."

"The president must nominate a replacement with an independent record that is beyond reproach," Brown said.