President Donald Trump has fired FBI director James Comey following a meeting with the former director, who was leading the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The decision comes as Congress investigates the possible ties between Trump’s campaign and Moscow and questions swirl around Trump’s decision to fire Comey, whose tenure as FBI director ended on May 9.
In a statement, Trump said Comey’s dismissal “took away from the hard work of our special counsel Robert Mueller, and the many other outstanding agents and prosecutors.”
“I have the utmost respect for Director Comey, and I wish him the best,” Trump said.
“As I said to the FBI agents who were there on May 8, I hope they find their way home safe and sound.”
In his statement, Rosenstein said the president fired Comey because the bureau had lost confidence in its ability to effectively lead the investigation into Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election.
He said Comey had told lawmakers the FBI’s Russia investigation was a “matter” of public interest.
The president’s decision “is not inconsistent with my long-standing commitment to independent, nonpartisan and fair investigation into the Russian cyber intrusions and efforts to disrupt our democratic process,” Rosenstein said.