President Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey on Tuesday, at the recommendation of senior Justice Department officials who said he had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly and in doing so damaged the credibility of the FBI and the Justice Department.
The startling development comes as Comey was leading a counterintelligence investigation to determine whether associates of Trump may have coordinated with Russia to interfere with the U.S. presidential election last year. It wasn’t immediately clear how Comey’s ouster will affect the Russia probe, but Democrats said they were concerned that his ouster could derail the investigation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, would be the acting director of the FBI. As a presidential candidate, Trump explicitly criticized Comey and McCabe for their roles in the Clinton probe while at other points praising Comey for his “guts.”
“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,” press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in the White House briefing room. The firing is effective “immediately,” he said.
Speculation abounds as to the timing of this move and more information will likely trickle out in the coming days, weeks and months.
For now, a few observations:
- Comey's decision last July to not charge Hillary Clinton for what many legal minds believe was gross negligence regarding her private email server was rumored to have angered many agents within the Bureau. With that in mind, perhaps this firing was long overdue given that Comey's leadership was severely questioned/disrespected by his subordinates.
- Comey's relationship with the Bureau was further in peril when it was revealed he gave inaccurate testimony in reference to Clinton top aide Huma Abedin's handling of classified emails. This resulted in the FBI issuing a supplemental report to Comey's statement.
- Since Mrs. Clinton lost the election, many leftists (including Clinton herself) laid much of the responsibility for the loss at Comey's feet given he "re-opened" the investigation into her email practices a mere 11 days before Election Day. Any other day, proggies would be dancing on Comey's proverbial grave for getting (in their minds anyways) his just due. Ah, but since Comey was in the midst of offering testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding outside interference into this past November's election, leftist conspiracy theorists say Trump is trying to bury any evidence of Russia ties, thus there being some leftist sympathy for Comey. But given the individual who will be the interim FBI director (hint: someone with indirect ties to Clinton), that theory is utterly vacuous.
Definitely stay tuned.