President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired the director of F.B.I., James B. Comey. Trump explained the firing by citing Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The development in Trump’s presidency raised the specter of political interference by a sitting president into an existing investigation by the nation’s leading law enforcement agency.
Before terminating Comey, President Trump even praised him for his “guts” in his pursuit of Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign. But in his letter to Comey, released to reporters by the White House, Trump stated that Comey is not able to lead the F.B.I.
“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,” Trump said in a letter to Comey dated Tuesday.
The White House officials said that the deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein and attorney general Jeff Sessions pushed for Comey’s dismissal from his post, which he was serving since 2013.
“I cannot defend the director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails,” Rosenstein wrote in another letter that was released by the White House, “and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”
Why Was James Comey Fired?
According to Donald Trump, “He [James Comey] wasn’t doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job.”
However, there are many Democrats who do not agree with president’s statement because they think that Comey’s termination is more likely linked to the ongoing Russian investigation.
“If Hillary Clinton had won the election, which thank God she didn’t, but if she had and she had been in the same position, she would have fired Comey immediately,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, adding that Democrats condemning Comey’s termination were being hypocritical.
According to The Weekly Standard’s Kelly Jane Torrance, the timing of Comey’s termination from his position is making everyone worried at the Washington. According to the deputy managing editor of the outlet, Comey was sacked the moment he started asking for more resources for the Russian investigation.
“[Trump] might have been justified in doing it if he had done it as soon as he took office … the timing is very important. If his administration was concerned about the way that James Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, they had plenty of time to look into that and examine that in the months leading up to the inauguration and the first days of the administration itself.”
Who Is Now Serving As F.B.I.’s Director?
As of this writing, the acting FBI director is Andrew McCabe, who had been Comey’s deputy when he was serving the bureau. However, Trump is expected to appoint an interim replacement, ahead of a permanent one.
According to Reuters, there are four candidates in the running for the interim role, including McCabe.
The other high-ranking officials are — assistant FBI director-in-charge Paul Abbate, Chicago special agent-in-charge Michael J. Anderson and special agent-in-charge Adam Lee.
Who Is Going To Replace James Comey?
According to the media experts, Donald Trump is likely to look outside the bureau to find someone to run the country’s leading law enforcement agency. Readers should know this that, whoever Trump will finalize for the position of the new FBI director, he/she must be approved by the Senate. In addition, the Republicans have a majority in the Senate to allow President Trump’s pick.
According to ABC, possible permanent candidates to replace James Comey include former New York police commissioner Ray Kelly, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and John Pistole, a former deputy director of the FBI under President George W. Bush.
Now As James Comey Is Fired — What Will Happen To The Ongoing Russian Investigation?
Even after Comey’s firing, the White House officials have encouraged the Federal Bureau to complete its investigation. The Democrats think that there is a link between the termination of F.B.I. director and the ongoing Russian investigation.
Democrats have also demanded to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russian involvement in the Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
[Featured Image by Zach Gibson/Getty Images]