American President Donald Trump has dismissed the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, James Comey.
In a statement, Trump said Comey's removal "will mark a new beginning" for the FBI. Administration officials say the search for a new FBI director will begin immediately.
Comey's dismissal comes days after he appeared before a U.S. Senate committee. He answered questions about the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election.
The investigation centered on possible connections between Russia and Trump's campaign.
In his letter to dismiss Comey, Trump wrote “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had advised Trump to dismiss Comey. The Justice Department released a document saying that Comey was wrong in how he dealt with the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The memo says that Comey “usurp[ed] the Attorney General’s authority” when he closed the Clinton email investigation without prosecution. That was on July 5, 2016. At the time, Loretta Lynch was Attorney General under former President Barack Obama.
Comey told lawmakers last week that a top Clinton aide had sent "hundreds and thousands" of emails to her husband's laptop. Comey said some emails included classified information.
On Tuesday, the FBI corrected that testimony in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. It said only "a small number" of emails had been forwarded.
Clinton recently discussed the email investigation in an interview with CNN. She blamed Comey's disclosure about the email for her loss in last year’s election. Comey had written to Congress that he was reopening the email investigation about two weeks before America voted.
In March, Trump posted a series of tweets accusing former President Barack Obama of attempting to spy on him during the 2016 campaign. Trump said Obama had ordered listening devices be placed secretly in Trump offices in New York City.
Comey, however, said the FBI had “no information” to support President Trump’s accusations.
Some lawmakers in both parties welcomed news of Comey’s dismissal.
Republican Lindsay Graham is the chairman of the Senate subcommittee investigating the Russian interference. He said, "Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is a top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. She said in a statement, "The next FBI director must be strong and independent and will receive a fair hearing in the Judiciary Committee.”
James Comey began his service as FBI chief in 2013 under the Obama administration.
I’m Caty Weaver.
Hai Do wrote this story for Learning English based on reporting from VOA and the Associated Press. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
usurp - v. to take and keep (something, such as power) in a forceful or violent way and especially without the right to do so
authority - n. the power to give orders or make decisions : the power or right to direct or control someone or something
prosecution - n. the act or process of holding a trial against a person who is accused of a crime to see if that person is guilty
classified - adj. kept secret from all but a few people in the government
disclosure - n. the act of making something known : the act of disclosing something
controversy - n. argument that involves many people who strongly disagree about something