Former FBI Director James Comey sent a goodbye note to FBI employees Wednesday, one day after he was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump.
Comey’s letter, published first by CNN, assured agency staff that “It is done, and I will be fine,” referring to his abrupt ouster.
He also urged the agency to maintain its “competence, honestly, and independence” and live up to what he said was its image as a “rock for America.”
As justification for Comey’s firing, Trump cited a memo by the newly-minted Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that was sharply critical of Comey’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Yet Trump had earlier praised Comey for his actions in that investigation, and various reports citing scores of unnamed sources paint a picture of a President increasingly uncomfortable with the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Various reports also indicate Trump asked Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to find a rationale for Comey’s firing. The Washington Post, citing an unnamed person close to the White House, reported that Rosenstein had threatened to resign as a result of Trump’s attempts to pin Comey’s firing on him.
Read Comey’s letter below in full, via CNN:
To all:I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all. I’m not going to spend time on the decision or the way it was executed. I hope you won’t either. It is done, and I will be fine, although I will miss you and the mission deeply.I have said to you before that, in times of turbulence, the American people should see the FBI as a rock of competence, honesty, and independence. What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.It is very hard to leave a group of people who are committed only to doing the right thing. My hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.If you do that, you too will be sad when you leave, and the American people will be safer.Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.Jim Comey