Ousted FBI Director James Comey learned he was being fired while he was in Los Angeles speaking to FBI agents, according to The Los Angeles Times.
As he spoke, news of his firing flashed on the television screen in the room, and that’s how he got wind of it, reports the newspaper.
Comey then cut his trip to LA short, opting out of an “FBI recruiting event in Hollywood,” according to the Times. “TV coverage showed Comey boarding a jet at Los Angeles International Airport,” the newspaper reports.
According to CBS News, “Comey boarded a plane a little before 9 p.m. Eastern — a little before 6 p.m. Pacific — presumably destined for the East Coast.”
You can watch footage of Comey at the airport in Los Angeles above. Comey did not speak about the firing while in Los Angeles.
CNN confirmed that Comey learned he was being fired by “watching it on television.”
Trump’s decision to fire Comey – blaming the ouster in part on Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails – caused shockwaves because the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.
Trump acted in part on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who wrote in a letter, “The Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the Department. Therefore, 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.”
Comey is only the second FBI director in the United States’ history to be fired by a president. The first was William Sessions, who was ousted by Bill Clinton in 1993 during an ethics report scandal. Sessions had first been named FBI director by Ronald Reagan.
In his letter to Comey, Trump said, in part, “I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately. While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”
You can read the letter in full here: