Fired FBI Director James Comey’s goodbye letter to staff has been revealed – and in it he said Donald Trump was within his rights to fire him while refusing to comment on how his sacking was ‘executed’ by the president.
Comey adopted a diplomatic tone in his letter that emerged on Wednesday night.
‘I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all,’ the farewell note began.
‘I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed,’ it continued. ‘I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.’
Earlier on Wednesday the White House had launched a war of words on Comey as Trump’s aides sought to justify the president’s extraordinary axing of the FBI boss – accusing him of circumventing the chain of the command and ‘atrocities’ at the Justice Department.
Comey had ‘essentially taken a stick of dynamite and thrown it into the Department of Justice’ by holding his infamous press conference about the FBI’s decision not to recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.
And on Wednesday night new details of Trump and Comey’s increasingly fractious relationship were revealed.
But in his letter, Comey said: ‘I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.’
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He’s back: James Comey was apparently smiling when he was seen at his home in McLean, Virginia, on Wednesday. He is being invited to testify to Congress next Tuesday
Comey sent this letter to staff and colleagues at the FBI to say farewell after his shock firing
Although adopting a disappointed tone in his letter, Comey steered clear of the attacks on Trump, and instead heaped praise on the bureau and its staffers, writing: ‘It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing.
‘My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.
‘If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.’
Comey closed out the letter in emotional fashion, saying: ‘Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.’
Donald Trump sent this tweet and video out on Wednesday about the same time Comey’s farewell letter emerged
President Donald Trump defended his firing of FBI Director James Comey after a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office
COMEY CALLED TRUMP ‘CRAZY’ AND ‘OUTSIDE THE REALM OF NORMAL’
Fired FBI director James Comey allegedly told colleagues Donald Trump was ‘crazy’ and ‘outside the realm of normal’ back when the President claimed Obama wire-tapped his phones.
The New York Times reports Comey made the comments to associates after being left shocked by Trump’s wire-tapping claims back in March.
In turn, Trump became outraged when Comey publicly dismissed the allegations. When deciding to sack the FBI director, Trump allegedly told his aides there was ‘something wrong with’ Comey.
Trump’s aides reportedly said he had a build up of grievances against Comey before he was sacked on Tuesday, including the dismissal of wire-tapping allegations and the FBI’s handling of investigation into Russian interference in the election.
US officials said on Wednesday in the days before he was fired, Comey had requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates.
It has fueled concerns Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency.
It was unclear whether word of the Comey request, put to deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, ever made its way to Trump.
But the revelation intensified the pressure on the White House from both political parties to explain the motives behind Comey’s stunning ouster.
About the same time as the former director’s farewell was published, Trump tweeted out his latest mini-commercial about the controversy.
As he tried to do throughout the day, the president’s tweet attempted to portray prominent Democrats who have spoken out against the firing as hypocritical.
The tweet read: ‘The Democrats should be ashamed. This is a disgrace! #DrainTheSwamp,’ and featured a short two-minute video.
The clip was made by splicing together short sound-bytes and presenting them without dates or context.
It started by showing Bernie Sanders calling for Comey to resign, while the words, ‘Democrats, What Changed?’ were splashed across the screen.
Harry Reid was next in the video, before eventually Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Tim Kaine, Jerry Nadler, and Maxine Waters were flashed up.
It was also reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday night that Trump made up his mind to sack Comey while he was at his golf course in New Jersey over the weekend.
The newspaper reported that when Trump returned to work on Monday morning, he told Vice President Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, and others close to him that he was ready to give Comey the boot.
The Post cites more than 30 officials close to the White House and the president as saying the decision was made due to growing personal frustration Trump felt toward Comey – much of which stemmed from the ex-Director refusing to support the president’s untrue claim he was wiretapped by former President Barack Obama.
According to the newspaper, Trump was also agitated that Comey was devoting time and resources to investigate the alleged Russian attempts to impact the election, and instead wanted him to focus the agency on finding those who were leaking against the administration.
Deputy White House press secretary Sanders on Wednesday unloaded on Comey just hours after Trump fired him while releasing a letter from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that explained the alleged case against Comey.
The Russian embassy in Washington released this photo of President Trump warmly shaking hands with ambassador Sergey Kislyak
Recommendation: Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the president it was time for Comey to go after his evidence that Huma Abedin forwarded hundreds or thousands of emails to her husband Anthony Weiner, some of them classified, was wrong
Absent from her rationale was any mention of the Russia investigation Comey was overseeing as head of the FBI, an inquiry that includes alleged interactions between Trump campaign officials an Russia.
Sanders – filling in for press secretary Sean Spicer, who is on Naval reserve duty – also accused Comey of committing ‘atrocities’ in his conduct.
The word is usually reserved for the worst actors on the world stage.
‘Having a letter like the one that he received and having that conversation that outlined the basic atrocities in circumventing the chain of command at the department of justice,’ Sanders said, required the president to act.
Sanders said Comey’s conduct amounted to going ‘around the chain of command’ and ‘is simply not allowed.’
She said Trump made the final decision to sack Comey on Tuesday, but had ‘been considering letting Director Comey go pretty much from the day he took office.’
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (left), Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak (right) talking during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House
President Donald Trump tweeted attacks on Democrats throughout the day on Wednesday
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got grilled by reporters about the Comey firing on Wednesday
The White House has repeatedly claimed the initiative came from the Justice Department, although Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat who got a head’s up from Trump on Tuesday night, claimed Trump told her he had ordered a review that led to the decision.
‘When I talked to the president last night, he said: ‘The department’s a mess, I asked Rosenstein and [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions to look into it. Rosenstein sent me a memo. I accepted the recommendation to fire him’,’ Feinstein recalled, ABC News reported.
On Tuesday evening, Spicer told reporters about the firing: ‘That was a DOJ decision.’
In Sanders’ timeline, she said Trump met with Rosenstein on Monday. She used language indicating it was at Rosenstein’s request.
‘He did have a conversation with the deputy attorney general on Monday where they had come to him to express their concerns,’ she said.
Sanders refused to divulge information about the three times Trump claims Comey told him he was ‘not under investigation,’ or reveal whether the president had specifically asked whether he was under investigation.
People were seen protesting outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday night following the president’s decision to sack Comey
A crowd of protesters is pictured in front of Trump Tower in New York City on Wednesday night
One of the protesters outside Trump Tower was holding a sign that read: ‘Enough. Time to impeach’
‘I’m not going to get into the specifics of their conversation, but I can tell you that Director Comey relayed that information to the president,’ she said.
Asked about appointment of a special prosecutor – something critics say is required to assure an independent investigation, Sanders said: ‘We don’t think that’s necessary.
‘You’ve got a House committee, a Senate committee, and the Department of Justice all working on this. I don’t think that there’s a necessary need at this point to add that.’
President Trump himself was terse as he defended his sudden firing of Comey ‘wasn’t doing a good job.’
The president made his brief statement from the Oval Office during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who served as secretary of state and security adviser under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
‘I’m not going to get into the specifics of their conversation,’ Sanders said, when asked whether Trump asked FBI Director James Comey whether he was under investigation
Asked why he fired Comey, Trump responded: ‘Because he wasn’t doing a good job, very simply. He was not doing a good job.’
The president shook his head when asked whether the issue affected his meeting with the Russians today.
He had met earlier with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov – as well as Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak.
Wednesday afternoon, Trump tweeted Democrats were ‘phony hypocrites’ for their newfound appreciation for Comey.
‘Dems have been complaining for months & months about Dir. Comey. Now that he has been fired they PRETEND to be aggrieved. Phony hypocrites!’ Trump tweeted.
In another development, the Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking information about Trump and his top aides from a financial crimes unit at the Treasury Department, CNBC reported.
The unit, known as FinCEN, imposed a $10million penalty on Trump Taj Mahal in 2015 for violations of money laundering laws..
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US President Donald Trump, and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak (L-R) talking during a meeting in the Oval Office at the White House
Comey landed overnight in DC after finding out he was fired while in California
It’s over: How the White House delivered the news just after 5.30pm on Tuesday
WHAT NOW? THE CANDIDATES TIPPED TO SUCCEED COMEY
With James Comey ousted as FBI director, President Donald Trump has to select a replacement for a new 10-year term, and he is likely to reach outside the bureau to find someone to run the law enforcement agency.
Here are some possible candidates:
Rudi Giuliani has been linked with the vacant position, but his appointment is likely to be opposed by the Senate
The former New York mayor would be an attractive choice for Trump, as Giuliani was among his most vocal supporters during the presidential race and has a background in law enforcement.
However this loyalty would make his appointment unlikely, CNN reports, as he would be extremely unlikely to get the backing of the Senate.
He has been outspoken in his opposition to Hillary Clinton.
Ray Kelly, the longest-serving police commissioner in New York City, could be a natural ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions
The longest-serving police commissioner in New York City, Kelly was in charge of the force in the years following 9/11, when terror threats were routine.
His tough-on-crime stance, including support for provocative tactics like stop-and-search, could make him a natural ally of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Kelly defended a police operation, exposed by The Associated Press, that conducted secret surveillance of Muslims.
He could work with Trump and Sessions on anti-terrorism efforts.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has a mixed relationship with Trump, but could bring law enforcement experience to the job
Though his relationship with Trump has been mixed, the governor of New Jersey has known the president for years and could bring law enforcement experience to the job.
He is a former Republican-appointed United States attorney in New Jersey, and he cited that background time and again during his 2016 presidential campaign.
David Clarke has been a fierce Trump supporter and has described himself as ‘one of those bare-knuckle fighters’
A wild-card, but the outspoken and polarizing Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, sheriff has been a fierce supporter of Trump and even landed a speaking spot at last summer’s Republican National Convention.
A conservative firebrand known for his cowboy hat, Clarke has called himself ‘one of those bare-knuckles fighters’ and has been critical of what he called the ‘hateful ideology’ of the Black Lives Matters movement.
But he would be a long shot given that a county jury recently recommended criminal charges against seven Milwaukee County jail staffers over the dehydration death of an inmate who went without water for seven days.
Trey Gowdy criticized Comey for not prosecuting Hillary Clinton over the email server investigation
The South Carolina Republican led the House committee investigation of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s actions surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya.
Mr Gowdy is also a former federal prosecutor who boasts of his work on drug trafficking, bank robberies and child pornography cases.
He was among politicians critical of Mr Comey’s decision not to prosecute Clinton over the email server investigation, saying other government officials would have been prosecuted if they handled classified information like she did.
Andrew McCabe was yesterday named Acting FBI Director by President Trump following Comey’s dismissal
Appointed yesterday as Acting FBI director, McCabe has worked at the bureau for 21 years, having joined as a special agent in 1996.
He has expertise in counterterrorism and interrogation, but he is currently under review for his involvement in the Clinton scandal after his wife received funds from a close friend of Hillary for her political campaign in 2015.
Before McCabe was appointed as the Deputy Director of the FBI, his wife Jill McCabe ran as a Democrat for the Virginia stat senate in 2015.
Her campaign received funds from the state Democratic Party and a political action committee run by Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of the Clintons.
He has, however, been part of the same investigation which Comey was fired for, and this is likely to work against him when Trump names his pick.
The panel wants information related to its investigation of Russia, including evidence of possible money laundering, as well as information about whether people close to Russian President Vladimir Putin invested in Trump’s real estate empire, a committee aide told the network
The agency has databases of suspicious transactions and can get banks to hand over information.
Comey could yet have more to say on the firing – as well as the scandal surrounding the Russia investigation.
Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is probing alleged Russian election interference, said he and Chairman Richard Burr have invited Comey to testify next Tuesday.
Earlier on Wednesday, The New York Times reported just days before he got sacked, Comey had asked the Justice Department for an infusion of funds to pay for the Russia probe.
Farewell: Comey was seen just over three hours after his firing as he shook hands with law enforcement officers in Los Angeles before boarding a private jet
How the news broke: Reporters at the White House were given copies of the press release and letter from the president just after 5.30pm, announcing Comey’s sacking
COMEY: NEW VICTIM OF CLINTON’S TOXIC EMAIL SCANDAL
March 2015: It becomes publicly known that Hillary Clinton, during her tenure as United States Secretary of State, had used her family’s private email server for official communications and FBI opened investigation.
May 2016: The State Department’s Office of the Inspector General released an 83-page report about the State Department’s email practices, including Clinton’s.
July 2016: FBI director James Comey announces the bureau’s investigation had concluded that Clinton was ‘extremely careless’ in handling her email system but recommended that no charges be filed against her. Two days later the State Department reopens its probe into the email controversy.
September 2016: DailyMail.com reveals Huma Abedin’s husband Anthony Weiner has sexted a 15-year-old girl. The FBI investigates Weiner, already known as a sexting-addicted pervert, for sexual contact with a minor
October 2016: Eleven days before the election, Comey notifies Congress the FBI is reopening the case due to emails found on a laptop used by Weiner including some from Abedin’s Clintonemail.com address
November 2016: Comey notifies Congress the conclusion that Clinton is in the clear is unchanged – but days later she loses the election. Democrats blame Comey.
April 2017: Clinton surfaces to explicitly blame Comey, Russia and misogyny for her loss.
May 2017: Comey ‘misspeaks’ in Senate testimony, saying Abedin sent hundreds or thousands of emails to her husband. In fact she only sent the pervert a handful.
9 May: Comey is dramatically fired with immediate effect by the president.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke to reporters in the Capitol as the saga unfolded, and said the decision to fire Comey did not have anything to do with government probes of Russian election interference.
‘That was not what this was about,’ Pence said. ‘The president took strong and decisive leadership here to put the safety and security of the American people first,’ he told NBC’s Kristen Welker.
Pence also claimed Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, made the recommendation that Trump fire Comey.
Calling Rosenstein a man of ‘great character’ and integrity, Pence said he ‘came to work, sat down and made the recommendation for the FBI to be able to do its job that it would need new leadership.’
Democrats want to call Rosenstein to brief them on the order of events and whether Trump was behind the decision to fire Comey.
The former Director was appointed to a ten-year term by President Barack Obama.
The end: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered the fatal blow to Comey. He was away from the Washington DC, headquarters of the FBI, visiting its field office in Los Angeles and had been due to speak at a recruitment event at the Directors Guild of America building.
Fired: James Comey is being fired with immediate effect after he misled the Senate on how classified emails ended up on pervert Anthony Weiner’s computer. This was the Wednesday May 3 testimony which cost him his career
HERO TO ZERO: FIRED FBI BOSS ENDED UP HATED BY EVERYONE
Attorney General James Comey sealed a reputation as a brave and principled actor after a 2004 standoff during the Bush administration, when he refused White House efforts to get him to reauthorize warrantless eavesdropping while Attorney General John Ashcroft was hospitalized.
Comey had been appointed deputy attorney general by President George W Bush, having served as a US attorney in New York under Rudy Giuliani in New York.
With Ashcroft incapacitated, Bush administration officials wanted Ashcroft, and then Comey, to sign off on an extension of the authority, with just hours to go before an NSA program expired. Comey refused.
His stand was a major reason why President Obama nominated him to be head of the FBI in 2013. Obama hailed Comey as a person of ‘fierce independence and deep integrity’ as he nominated him for the FBI post, which carries a 10-year term.
Brought up Catholic and now a United Methodist, a registered Republican and a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he seemed to radiate independence from the Democratic machine.
And many congressional Democrats became far less supportive of Comey after the 2016 presidential election.
Obama’s man: Republican James Comey was chosen by the Democratic president for his principled stand but ended up in the words of one senator as ‘as popular as cholera’
Led by defeated candidate Hillary Clinton, many have griped about Comey’s handling of the Clinton email scandal.
On July 5th, 2016, Comey personally announced the FBI’s decision not to charge Clinton in connection with its investigation of her private email server and handling of classified material. He nevertheless called her conduct ‘extremely careless’.
Then on October 28, he told lawmakers the bureau was reviewing newly discovered emails in connection to the investigation. The FBI had uncovered thousands of emails on disgraced ex-Rep Anthony Weiner’s laptop that had been sent to his wife, longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
Comey drew the Democrats’ ire once again when he announced two days before the election that the investigation hadn’t turned up anything to alter the decision not to prosecute. Clinton said it only made matters worse and stole headlines.
In the congressional hearing where he made inaccurate statements about about Abedin’s emails, Democrats grilled Comey about why he had not revealed the existence of an ongoing investigation into alleged Russian election interference.
Comey said the FBI ‘didn’t say a word about’ the Russia investigation until months into, whereas he had testified under oath about the existence of the Clinton investigation.
Meet the new boss – Clinton-tainted like the old one: Andrew McCabe who will head the FBI until a permanent replacement is found had oversight of the Clinton email probe. His wife received cash for her Democratic political campaign from a close friend of the Clintons who directed it from a fundraising effort which Hillary Clinton had aided by turning up for an event
NEW CHIEF G-MAN WAS ALSO CAUGHT UP IN CLINTON SCANDAL
James Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, will take over the law enforcement agency.
McCabe’s wife is a Democrat who ran for the state senate in 2015 in Virginia, before he was promoted to the FBI’s No. 2 position.
Terry McAullife, the Virginia governor and a close friend of both the Clintons, directed $675,000 Jill McCabe’s way for her campaign.
The Virginia governor’s political action committee, Common Good VA, spent $467,000 on her losing campaign. The state Democratic Party gave her nearly $208,000.
A month before McAullife’s PAC made its first donation to McCabe, Hillary Clinton headlined a fundraiser for the group.
As deputy director of the FBI, it was McCabe who oversaw the investigation into Clinton’s secret server, as well as the bureau’s investigations into alleged terrorists and spies.
He is under review by an inspector general for his involvement in the Clinton case, in light of his wife’s ties to the former presidential candidate.
Sen Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee, also asked the FBI in a March letter about McCabe’s role in the Russian probe and whether it ‘raises the appearance a conflict of interest in light of his wife’s ties with Clinton’s associates.’
The Republican lawmaker asked Comey if McCabe would be recusing himself from that investigation, suggesting in the letter that McCabe faces a possible conflict of interest.
THE LETTERS WHICH ENDED COMEY’S FBI CAREER