Ousted chief bellows on personnel he leaves behind not to spend time on the decision or the style it was executed, saying bureau must remain a stone for America
The former FBI director James Comey has urged the bureau he contributed until his abrupt dismissal by Donald Trump to remain a rock of competence, franknes, and independence.
Comey addressed friends and staff in a widely reported letter on Wednesday, in which he stated his belief that Trump, as chairwoman, had a right to fire him regardless of the circumstances.
I have long believed that a chairwoman can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all, Comey wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by CNN.
Im not going to spend time on the decision or the style it was executed. I hope you wont either.
It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.
The letter recognized Comeys first known comments on his firing at the hands of Trump, which sent shockwaves across the country over the timing and perceived breach of due process and natural justice. Comey was leading an FBI investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and reportedly sought more resources for the inquiry in the days leading up to his removal.
I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should assure the FBI as a stone of the competencies, franknes, and independence, Comey wrote.
What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that stone for America.
Here is the full text of James Comeys letter :
I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. Im not going to spend time on the decision or the style it was executed. I hope you wont either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deep.
I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should assure the FBI as a stone of the competencies, franknes, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that stone for America.
It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission for the protection of the American people and defending the Constitution. If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.
Working with you has been one of the great rejoices of my life. Thank you for that endowment.
Likened to Watergate
The White House has energetically protected the decision to remove Comey despite censure from both parties in Washington.
Democrats mentioned Trumps move echoed the Watergate scandal of the 1970 s that eventually inspired the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Republican are the most muted in their criticism but raised concerns over the timing of Trumps decision, with some indicating they would join Democrat in supporting the appointment of a special lawyer to supervise the Trump-Russia investigation.
There are three separate but parallel inquiries into Russian interference in the 2016 general elections, which the US government concluded was designed to boost Trumps candidacy. The FBI investigation, with Comey at its helm, was accelerating prior to his dismissal.
His firing was recommended by the deputy us attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and the prosecutor general Jeff Sessions. Sessions had claimed to recuse himself from the Russia investigation in March after it was exposed he met with the Kremlins ambassador to the US on at least two occasions and did not disclose those encounters while witnessing before a Senate committee at his confirmation hearing.
The White House, along with Rosenstein and Sessions, insisted Comey had lost the confidence of the FBI and the American populace. Trump told reporters on Wednesday that Comey wasnt doing a good job, while White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president had been considering letting Director Comey move since the working day he was elected.
It was only a week ago, however, that White House press secretary Sean Spicer mentioned Comey had Trumps confidence. Trump mentioned just as much himself in an interview last month, and as successful candidates heralded Comey for reopening the FBIs investigation into Hillary Clintons use of a private email server merely 11 periods before the election. Witnessing before a Senate panel last week, Comey protected his highly controversial decision, which several polls find expenditure Clinton heavily among late-deciding voters.
It makes me mildly nauseous to think we might have had some impact on the election, Comey mentioned. But honestly it wouldnt change the decision.