White House letters on firing of FBI Director James Comey
FBI Director James Comey was fired in a letter from President Trump, who said the FBI needed new leadership – and also said that Comey had, “on three separate occasions,” informed the president that he was not under investigation.
In dismissing Comey, Trump said he was acting on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein.
Sessions said in a letter to the president that “a fresh start is needed at the leadership for the FBI” for the reasons expressed by his deputy, Rosenstein.
Rosenstein, in a three-page letter to Sessions cited Comey’s controversial public statements about the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Among Rosenstein’s conclusions:
— Comey refuses “to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken” to go public in July with his reasons for recommending no criminal charges again Clinton. During that news conference, Comey said Clinton and her aides were
“extremely careless” in handling classified information.
— Comey “was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority” to announce that the case would be closed. “The Director is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department,” Rosenstein wrote.
— Comey “ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.” Although such information is sometimes disclosed, “we never release it gratuitously.”
— The conclusion that Comey acted inappropriately in the Clinton case is shared by “attorneys General and Deputy Attorneys General from different eras and both political parties.”
Rosenstein’s letter concludes: “The FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.