President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey late Thursday amid FBI criminal investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians in interfering with the 2016 election. With clear comparisons to the Nixon Watergate scandal of the 1970s, this latest move by the Trump White House suggests the president has something to hide, and Comey was about to reveal it. With concerns that ongoing investigations into Trump and his associates will be delayed if not imperiled, calls for a special prosecutor and an independent 9-11-style commission will likely grow.
A statement from the White House said President Trump acted based on the recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “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,” said Trump.
In a memo to Sessions entitled, “RESTORING PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN THE FBI,” Rosenstein made the case for Comey’s removal, pointing to Comey’s July 2016 criticism of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her use of an email server as secretary of state. In a letter to Trump, Sessions—who in March recused himself on issues related to the Trump campaign and the Clinton email probes—recommended the president fire Comey. Under oath during his confirmation hearing, Sessions–a former Trump campaign operative–failed to disclose that he met with the Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak twice last year.