President Trump has fired the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, the White House said on Tuesday.
Mr. Comey is leading an investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
“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,” Mr. Trump said in a letter dated Tuesday to Mr. Comey.
“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,” Mr. Trump wrote.
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Officials at the F.B.I. said they were not immediately aware of Mr. Comey’s dismissal.
In a separate letter released at the White House, Mr. Spicer said that the president informed the director that he has been “terminated and removed from office.”
Memos released by the White House show that Rod Rosenstein, the newly sworn-in deputy attorney general, that recommended Mr. Comey be fired over how he disclosed the investigation into Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Comey broke with longstanding tradition and policies by discussing the case and chastisingthe Democratic presidential nominee’s “careless” handling of classified information. Then, in the campaign’s final days, Mr. Comey announced that the F.B.I. was reopening the case, a move that earned him widespread criticism.
“The F.B.I. 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,” Mr. Trump said in the statement.
A longtime prosecutor who served as the deputy attorney general during the George W. Bush administration, Mr. Comey came into office with widespread bipartisan support.