Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that President Donald Trump acted with “strong leadership” for firing FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
Pence was on Capitol Hill to speak with members of Congress on the American Healthcare Act, but was understandably pelted with questions about Comey’s termination, which happened just one day prior.
Pence said that he thought “the president made the right decision at the right time.” He added that letting go of Comey, who was heading the investigation of his campaign ties with Russia, “wasn’t due” to the ongoing Russia probe.
“Director Comey had lost the confidence in the American people,” Pence said in his comments. He said that firing Comey and looking for a new director of the agency “restores the confidence in the American people.”
Watch a video of his comments below:
“We have some great men and women who serve on the Federal Bureau of Investigation every day who make enormous sacrifices for our country,” Pence said. “I’m confident our president will go through a process to find a replacement that restores confidence in American people.”
Just one day earlier, Trump said he acted on the recommendations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Pence said that it was Rosenstein who initiated Comey’s firing. In a letter addressed to Trump, Rosenstein wrote about how the president should move to terminate Comey after overstepping his role as director.
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. At most, the Director should have said the F.B.I. had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors.
Rosenstein’s letter also criticizes Comey’s disclosures of Hillary Clinton‘s conduct in relation to using a private email server.
Comey was nominated by former President Barack Obama and was confirmed shortly thereafter on September 4, 2013. He also served as U.S. Deputy Attorney General under former President George W. Bush and before that was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.