Why Was James Comey Fired as Director of the FBI?

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FBI Director James Comey. (Getty)

The White House has just announced the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

This comes as President Donald Trump received a recommendation both from his attorney general and his deputy attorney general. So what was it that lead to Comey’s firing?

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein explains why in a three page letter dated May 9th. In it, Rosenstein says that James Comey must be fired because of the way he handled the Hillary Clinton email case.

Rosenstein says, “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken.”

Rosenstein goes on to say that Comey was wrong to usurp the attorney general’s authority by announcing in July 2016 that the Clinton email case was being closed without prosecution.

“It is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Rosenstein said. “At most, the Director should have said the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors.”

Rosenstein adds that while the FBI director has argued that Attorney General Loretta Lynch had a conflict, “the FBI is never empowered to supplant federal prosecutors and assume command of the Justice Department.”

“The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a fair trial,” Rosenstein says.

The deputy attorney general also says that Comey was wrong to send a letter to Congress in October 2016 saying that the FBI was looking into new emails concerning the Hillary Clinton email investigation.

While Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a controversial figure, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is generally respected both among Republicans and Democrats. However, some have questioned whether the Hillary Clinton email case truly is the reason for Comey’s firing as the Trump administration has said.

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