Just hours before he was set to speak at a Los Angeles recruitment event, FBI Director James Comey was fired Tuesday by President Donald Trump.
“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,” Trump said.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump acted on the recommendations of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a search for a new FBI director “will begin immediately.”
Comey was appointed director of the bureau by President Barack Obama in 2013. In that capacity, he was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was Secretary of State, and his role in last year’s presidential election is still the subject of debate, with Clinton partially attributing her loss to Comey’s probe.
Comey came under additional fire Tuesday morning, when the FBI notified the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey had misstated a key fact while recently testifying before the panel.
Comey had testified that investigators found thousands of former Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails on the computer of her husband, Anthony Weiner, including some that contained classified information. Comey said Abedin had a habit of forwarding emails to Weiner, a disgraced congressman, possibly so he could print them, and said “hundreds and thousands” of the messages were found on Weiner’s computer.
The FBI reported Tuesday that investigators found a much smaller number of emails on Weiner’s computer, and an even smaller number — no more than 12 — contained any classified information.
News of Comey’s firing came just hours before he was set to speak at a recruitment event in Los Angeles as part of an FBI effort to boost recruitment of women and minorities.
The location of the event was kept secret from all but applicants who have been pre-approved, but KNX Newsradio reported it will be held at the Directors Guild of America theater on Sunset Boulevard, with doors opening at 4 p.m.
The event will be hosted by Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the bureau’s Los Angeles field office. Fike is the first woman in the FBI’s 100-plus-year history to lead the Los Angeles office.
Comey was expected to be the keynote speaker, with the agency saying he was “excited to meet with applicants as part of his commitment to diversifying the FBI.”
The FBI employs 13,538 agents. Most of them are white, while 2,252 are members of black, Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaska Native and other ethnic groups.
— City News Service
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