Trump fires intelligence head

2017-05-11 03:56:06 GMT2017-05-11 11:56:06(Beijing Time) Agencies
File photo taken on May 3, 2017 shows that James Comey, the director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing in Washington D.C., the United States. US President Donald Trump fired James Comey, the director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the White House said in a statement on May 9. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan) File photo taken on May 3, 2017 shows that James Comey, the director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing in Washington D.C., the United States. US President Donald Trump fired James Comey, the director of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the White House said in a statement on May 9. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)

US President Donald Trump defied a storm of criticism Wednesday over his firing of FBI director James Comey, inviting Russia's foreign minister to the White House even as Democrats demanded an independent probe of Moscow's alleged meddling in the US elections.

Trump's decision to terminate Comey on Tuesday effective immediately drew comparisons to the Watergate scandal that brought down Richard Nixon, and stunned Washington.

"James Comey will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI." Trump tweeted.

"Comey lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!"

Under Comey, the FBI was investigating whether Trump campaign aides colluded with Russia in an attempt to sway the US election in the Republican's favor.

Trump used a letter to Comey to try to distance himself from the ever-deepening scandal over Russia's alleged involvement in the election.

Trump said he was acting on recommendations of his attorney general and deputy attorney general, the latter of whom, Rod Rosenstein, accused Comey of "serious mistakes" in his handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's e-mail.

The FBI director had antagonized all sides - first angering Republicans by closing the e-mail probe against the Democratic candidate and then Democrats by reopening it days before the November presidential elections.

But Democrats - and some Republicans - saw the move to get rid of Comey as an assault on the FBI's Russia probe and demanded that it be turned over to an independent special prosecutor or commission.

"This is nothing less than Nixonian," charged Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who called Trump's official justification for firing Comey "absurd." "That fig leaf explanation seeks to cover the undeniable truth: the president has removed the sitting FBI director in the midst of one of the most critical national security investigations in the history of our country - one that implicates senior officials in the Trump campaign and administration," Leahy said.

Trump's decision to fire the FBI director is virtually unprecedented. Only one director has previously been fired in the bureau's century-long history.

The top Democrat in the Senate, Chuck Schumer, said Trump had made a "big mistake."

Unless the administration appoints an independent special prosecutor to probe the Russian meddling, Schumer added, "every American will rightly suspect that the decision to fire director Comey was part of a cover up."

Trump fired back on Twitter: "Cryin' Chuck Schumer stated recently, 'I do not have confidence in him (James Comey) any longer.' Then acts so indignant. #draintheswamp."

| PRINT | RSS
Add Comment