Former FBI director Jim Comey thought his firing was a practical joke.
Comey was speaking to FBI employees at the agency’s Los Angeles office when TV screens in the background flashed on with the news that Comey had been fired by Trump, multiple sources have reported. Comey responded by laughing and said he thought it was a funny prank, according to The New York Times.
His employees then pulled him aside, and shortly afterwards President Trump’s letter informing Comey of his firing was delivered to the FBI’s DC office, the Times reported.
“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 able to effectively lead the bureau. It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission,” Trump said in his letter to Comey. “You are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”
In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that Comey’s mishandling of the Clinton email investigation warranted his firing.
“The Director was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution. It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Rosenstein said.
“I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI,” Sessions agreed in a letter to the president. “I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, Jr. and identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI.”