President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday evening, based on justifications provided by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein’s three-page memo to Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that the primary motivation for Comey’s firing was his alleged mishandling of accusations against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, specifically his announcement on July 5 that Clinton’s handling of classified emails was not worthy of criminal charges. “It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Rosenstein wrote, but rather that of the Attorney General’s office.
Rosenstein also wrote that Comey’s press conference on the Clinton issue was “a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”
“Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions,” the report concluded.
Prior to being appointed Deputy Attorney-General, Rosenstein was the longest-serving U.S. District Attorney in the country, and was one of three George W. Bush appointees to have been retained by Barack Obama.
In his letter to Comey explaining his firing, Trump wrote that “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 effective to lead the Bureau.”
In response to the firing, multiple Democratic senators have renewed their calls for a special prosecutor to independently investigate Trump’s Russia ties.