(RNN) – President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, the White House has announced.
"The president has accepted the recommendation of the U.S. Attorney General and the deputy Attorney General regarding the dismissal of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters in the briefing room on Tuesday.
“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 in a statement.
A search for a new permanent FBI director will begin immediately, it added.
Comey was speaking at an FBI event in California when he learned of his firing, CNN reports.
Deputy director Andrew McCabe will serve as acting director. He was appointed to the deputy director position in 2016 and joined the FBI in 1996.
According to the Associated Press, Comey sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday correcting his testimony on Huma Abedin’s emails. Abedin was a top aide to Hillary Clinton.
The letter said Comey testified that Abedin had forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of emails to the laptop of her then-husband former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
The corrected testimony said that only a small number of emails on the laptop were forwarded. The rest occurred as backup from other devices, the AP reports.
He was responsible for overseeing the FBI’s investigation of the Hillary Clinton email controversy during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
His decision to go public with the re-opening of the investigation into Clinton's emails only days before the election led Democrats and some analysts to say the announcement cost Democratic nominee Clinton the election.
During his May 3 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey said the thought that the decision might have affected the election made him "mildly nauseous." He nevertheless fiercely defended his decision, saying any attempt to conceal the investigation would have been "catastrophic."
Comey is only the second FBI Director to be fired.
After J. Edgar Hoover’s 48-year tenure as FBI director, the position is now a 10-year term, appointed by the president and confirmed by Senate.
The only other FBI director to be fired was William S. Sessions, who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan during the Iran Contra affair, and asked by President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno to resign.
President Barack Obama appointed Comey to the position of FBI director in September 2013. Before this, Comey was senior vice president for Lockheed Martin.
Comey also served as the United States deputy attorney general from 2003 to 2005.
Comey and his wife, Patrice Failor, are the parents of five children.
Here are some reactions from members of Congress to the firing:
Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA:
This is Nixonian. Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein must immediately appoint a special prosecutor to continue the Trump/Russia investigation.— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) May 9, 2017
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC:
Given the recent controversies surrounding the Director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) May 9, 2017
Sen. John McCain, R-AZ:
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY:
If we don't get a special prosecutor, every American will rightfully suspect that the decision to fire #Comey was part of a cover-up.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 9, 2017
Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN:
My statement on FBI Director James Comey: pic.twitter.com/OTDZBy6VeR— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) May 9, 2017
Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA
The president's actions today make it clear to me that a special counsel ... must be appointed. That's the only way the American people will be able to trust the results of any [Department of Justice] investigation."
The president responded Tuesday night to Chuck Schumer, one of his frequent critics:
Cryin' Chuck Schumer stated recently, "I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer." Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2017
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