James Comey has been fired as FBI director by President Trump, the AP reports. ABC News tweeted a copy of the White House statement on the matter, which says that Trump acted "based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions." Trump says the move will mark "a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement." Senior government officials tell the New York Times that Sessions was given the job of coming up with a reason to fire Comey last week. Democratic leaders point out that Sessions had recused himself from the investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign—an investigation Comey was leading, the New York Daily News reports.
Rosenstein says Comey was fired for his handling of the Clinton email situation, saying he "cannot defend" Comey's behavior, the Times reports. Both Sessions and Trump had previously praised Comey's actions leading up to the election. According to Talking Points Memo, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer wonders if the Russia investigation was "getting too close to home" for Trump and calls for a special prosecutor to continue the investigation. CNN has a copy of Trump's termination letter to Comey, in which Trump says he "greatly appreciate[s]" Comey assuring him, "on three separate occasions," that he is not under investigation, but nonetheless he does not believe Comey can effectively lead the FBI. Comey, who was only three years into a 10-year term, learned of his firing from television reports, which began airing on screens behind him as he spoke to FBI employees in LA. The letter was subsequently delivered to FBI headquarters.