President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, telling reporters that the FBI had “lost its way” amid a political culture in which “they are not willing to do the right thing.”
Trump said he had informed Comey that he was not under investigation, and that Comey would not be fired.
He did not offer any details about the firing.
Hours later, Trump tweeted that he had decided to fire Comey for not following the recommendation of former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Trump had previously been briefed by Mueller about the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, and the president said he would have done so even if Mueller had not been appointed.
“He was not the best person to be the head of the FBI,” Trump said.
“I have to tell you, it’s a shame because I thought he was a great guy.
I thought that he would be a terrific director.
And I’m sorry, he’s not.”
The dismissal came hours after Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that he did not personally witness Trump ask Comey to stop the FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was fired last week after it was revealed that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about the nature of his contacts with Russian officials.