May 9, 2017 5:54 pm
Updated: May 10, 2017 8:01 am

Donald Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

WATCH: The head of the FBI has been fired by U.S. President Donald Trump. Late this afternoon, Trump terminated James Comey, saying he wants to restore public faith in the FBI. But as Jackson Proskow reports, critics are already using the word 'cover-up'.


U.S. President Donald Trump issued a press release Tuesday announcing he has fired FBI director James Comey.

“The FBI 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,” Trump said in a release.

READ MORE: Both Republicans and Democrats troubled by Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey

Several senior officials within the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department said they were given no advance notice of the firing ahead of the press release, according to Tom Winter of NBC News.

The release said the White House will begin a search for Comey’s replacement immediately.

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the FBI director who would replace James Comey, “must be strong and independent.”

Feinstein said in a statement that Trump called her Tuesday afternoon to tell her that Comey was being removed from the top FBI job. When Trump announces a replacement, the nomination would be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee.”> FBI director says it would have been ‘catastrophic’ to keep Congress in dark about Hillary Clinton email investigation

On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported there were errors in his testimony as Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, did not forward “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop as Comey recently testified , and never sent anything that was marked classified, according to a person familiar with the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

The FBI later sent a letter to Congress correcting the record of Comey’s testimony on Abedin.

WATCH: Republican Senator John McCain and Democratic Senator Dick Durbin react to james Comey firing

Clinton has handed partial blame for her election loss to Comey after he issued a letter to in the closing days of the 2016 election campaign which said the FBI was looking further into the email scandal.

“I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but were scared off,” Clinton said at the Women for Women International Conference.

She added: “If the election were on October 27, I’d be your president.”

Trump has been at odds with the U.S. intelligence community since before he was elected and last week he live tweeted as Comey gave his testimony before the Russia probe.

READ MORE: Trump vs. Comey: Fact checking the president’s tweets on FBI director’s testimony

Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term. Praised for his independence and integrity, Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement and has been no stranger to controversy.

Before the past months’ controversies, Comey was perhaps best known for a remarkable 2004 standoff with top officials in the George W. Bush administration over a federal domestic surveillance program.

WATCH: FBI director James Comey testifies on Russia electoral meddling, wiretap allegations

As the deputy attorney general, Comey rushed to the hospital bed of Attorney General John Ashcroft to physically stop White House officials in their bid to get his ailing boss to reauthorize a secret no-warrant wiretapping program.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton supporters blast FBI Director James Comey over Russian probe revelation

Comey described the incident in 2007 testimony to Congress, explaining that he believed the spy program put in place after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks was legally questionable.

When he learned that Andrew Card, the president’s chief of staff, and Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel, were heading to Ashcroft’s hospital room despite Ashcroft’s wife’s instructions that there be no visitors, Comey told Congress, Comey beat them there and watched as Ashcroft turned them away.

WATCH: President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey

“That night was probably the most difficult night of my professional life,” Comey said.

With files from The Associated Press and Reuters

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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