Former FBI Director James Comey may have found out that he was fired by President Donald Trump the same way the rest of the world did: from the news.
Comey was meeting with FBI agents in Los Angeles Tuesday when the breaking news report came across the TV, an FBI official told ABC News. Comey was at that field office for an inspection and a recruitment event.
However, two other sources from the agency told ABC News that Comey was told he had been terminated via phone. Additionally, a White House official told Reuters that Comey’s termination letter was delivered to the FBI by Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard Keith Schiller, who is now director of operations for the Oval Office.
"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 wrote Comey in the letter that cited recommendations from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Red Rosenstein. “It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission.”
Comey’s dismissal was long long predicted by many, as the director is one of the government officials who was investigating Trump and members of his administration for possible ties to Russia.
Earlier on Tuesday, a new report indicated that Comey may have misstated the number of emails Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin had forwarded to her husband, disgraced former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. He recently testified that those emails numbered in the “hundreds and thousands,” where it now seems it was just a handful of questionable emails, none of which were marked classified.
Clinton’s emails, of course, were the subject of a huge FBI investigation, which Comey announced he was reopening just before the election — and which was also re-closed prior to Election Day and followed its original conclusion that Clinton should not be charged for any wrongdoing. It was an incident that many, including the former Democratic candidate herself, felt played a large role in Clinton’s loss to Trump.
In a statement after the news of Comey’s firing broke, the White House said that “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.”
Comey’s deputy director Andrew McCabe is acting FBI director until Trump names his replacement.
Trump took to Twitter Wednesday morning to address Comey's firing and its subsequent backlash:
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017