Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

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James Comey

The news comes days after Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI's investigation into Russia's election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump's campaign.

President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey on 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.

Read the White House's statement below.

While cable news networks broke in to their regular coverage to announce that Comey was fired, Fox News' lower third graphic initially reported that he resigned, though it was later corrected to read he was terminated.

Earlier on Tuesday, the FBI corrected the sworn testimony of Director James Comey, who last week told Congress that a top aide to Clinton had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop, including some with classified information.

In fact, 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.

The apparent misstatements came during an hours-long hearing in which Comey was criticized for public comments during the election season, including his assertion during a July news conference at FBI headquarters that Clinton and her aides had been "extremely careless" in their handling of classified information.

He spoke at length at that hearing about Huma Abedin, a top Clinton aide, as he defended his decision to alert Congress 11 days before the election about the discovery of thousands of emails on a laptop belonging to former Rep. Anthony Weiner. The congressman, whose laptop was searched by the FBI as part of a sexting investigation, and Abedin separated last year.

Comey said he felt compelled to tell Congress that agents would need to take the time to review those emails, especially since he had already testified that the FBI had closed its investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server.

He said Abedin had a "regular practice" of forwarding emails to the laptop to be printed out for Clinton, saying at one point that "hundreds and thousands" had been forwarded, including some containing classified information.

"My understanding is that his role would be to print them out as a matter of convenience," Comey said.

But in a letter Tuesday, the FBI said most of the emails found on the laptop "occurred as a result of backup electronic devices." Ten email chains on the laptop were as a result of "backup activity," according to the FBI's letter, and an additional two had been forwarded.

The letter does not say how the misstatements occurred.

Comey said the FBI had concluded that neither Weiner nor Abedin had committed a crime in their handling of email.

With respect to Abedin, he said, "we didn't have any indication that she had a sense that what she was doing was in violation of the law. Couldn't prove any sort of criminal intent."

Early Wednesday morning, Trump sent out a series of tweets about his decision.

"The Democrats have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!" he wrote in one tweet. In another, "Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!"

He also said Comey will be replaced by "someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI."

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/trump-fires-fbi-director-james-comey-1001977

May 10, 8:30 a.m. ET: Updated with Trump tweets

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