FBI Director James Comey has been fired, the White House announced on Tuesday.
"Today, President Donald J. Trump informed FBI Director James Comey that he has been terminated and removed from office," Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement. "President Trump acted based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions."
"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," President Trump said.
The statement added that "a search for a new permanent FBI director will begin immediately."
Trump informed Comey in a letter of his dismissal.
"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," Trump wrote. "It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."
He added that he wished Comey "the best of luck in your future endeavors."
The letter from Trump to Comey: pic.twitter.com/HPdxKY9XvB
— Pamela Engel (@PamEngel12) May 9, 2017
The dismissal comes in the midst of an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as well as allegations of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russians.
In a memo sent out by the White House, Rosenstein wrote that the FBI's reputation had been heavily damaged over the past year due to Comey's mishandling of Hillary Clinton's email investigation.
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) May 9, 2017