WASHINGTON (CBSDFW) – President Trump announced on Tuesday he was firing FBI Director James Comey on recommendation of the Attorney General and his deputy.
In a letter, 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.”
The firing of an FBI director has only happened once before during the Clinton administration in ’93.
“I think it’s not only historic, it demonstrates in fact that there is no one beyond the authority of the president,” said Buck Revell, a former FBI Associate Deputy Director.
Revell was there when FBI Director William Sessions was fired in 1993.
“It was a personal impact, but not a professional because the job kept going,” said Revell.
Trump’s termination of Comey will likely play out no different according to Revell.
“(I’m) not saying the director is not important, but the bureau will function under the structure that it has without missing a beat,” said Revell.
When Comey recommended no charges be filed after investigating Hillary Clinton’s private email server, Revell said Comey crossed the line by publicly speaking about the move.
Revell said the decision is normally made by the attorney general.
“I think he was trying to do the right thing but that doesn’t excuse that he’s got to follow the chain of command,” said Richard Roper. a former U.S. Attorney.
While he feels it is a shame, Roper said the firing is justifiable to regain the trust of the public.
“I think it gives people pause to concern,” said Roper. “Is the FBI truly an agency that’s beyond political approach?”
Roper and Revell agree the list for the next director will be extensive, Senate approval could be even more difficult.
“It’s very distracting to the nation and there are things that need to get done,” said Revell.
Comey’s firing comes days after he testified on Capitol Hill about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
Congressman Joaquin Castro, member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, spoke about both issues — meddling and Russia — in a statement:
“President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director Comey is extremely suspicious. For the past six months, I have been asked if I believed Director Comey should be fired. Consistently, I have said that, despite his errors, I trust Director Comey more than any person President Trump would nominate.
Above all else, the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election must continue. Because Attorney General Sessions has recused himself from that investigation, I urge Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to reaffirm the agency’s commitment to seeking the truth in this matter.
Now more than ever, it is essential an independent commission is formed to investigate Russia’s interference in our election.”
Earlier Tuesday, the FBI sent a letter to Congress correcting the record on Comey’s testimony about top aide to Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin. It said in part, that Comey misspoke when he said Abedin had forwarded “hundreds and thousands” of emails to the laptop of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
The FBI said only a small number of the emails found on the laptop were a result of forwarding. Most occurred as a backup from other electronic devices.
Comey joins the list of other high-profile departures during the Trump administration.
Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Former Attorney General Sally Yates bother were dismissed earlier in the year.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)