United States President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Monday. The administration said on Tuesday that Comey’s firing stemmed from his handling of an election-year FBI probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state. Comey’s dismissal has stunned Washington and plunged Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign’s alleged ties with Russia. This has caused huge uproar among Republicans and Democrats alike.
Trump, who met Russia’s foreign minister at the White House on Wednesday, lashed out at critics, calling Democrats “phony hypocrites,” and defended his decision to abruptly oust Comey on Tuesday from the law enforcement post he held since 2013. “He wasn’t doing a good job, very simply,” the Republican president said of Comey during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the White House Oval Office.
Reuters reports that Comey, days before President Donald Trump fired him, told lawmakers he sought more resources for his agency’s probe into possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 U.S. election.
Comey informed lawmakers of that request after the Senate Intelligence Committee, conducting its own investigation, had asked the FBI to speed up its Russia inquiry, the source said. Responding to media reports that Comey had asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last week for a significant boost in resources for the agency’s probe, Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior said in an email: “Totally false.”
Democrats have ramped up accusations that Comey’s removal was intended to undermine the Federal Bureau of Investigation probe and demanded an independent investigation into the alleged Russian meddling. Some have also called the firing an attempt to cover up wrongdoing related to Russia.
U.S. intelligence agencies concluded in a January report that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered an effort to disrupt the 2016 election that included hacking into Democratic Party emails and leaking them, with the aim of helping Trump. Russia has denied any such meddling. The Trump administration denies allegations of collusion with Russia.