Trump defends firing Comey, says both parties will thank him
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has defended his firing of the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) James Comey, asserting in a flurry of tweets Wednesday that Republicans and Democrats "will be thanking me."
Trump did not mention any effect the firing might have on the probe into contacts between his 2016 campaign and Russia.
Instead, Trump tweeted that he'll name a replacement "who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI."
IN PHOTO: Donald Trump
Nevertheless, Tuesday's abrupt firing throws into question the future of the investigation into the Trump campaign's possible connections to Russia and immediately raised suspicions of an underhanded effort to stymie a probe that has shadowed the administration from the outset.
Trump has ridiculed the investigations as "a hoax" and denied any campaign involvement with the Russians.
Democrats likened Comey's ouster to President Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" and renewed calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor, and some Republicans also questioned the move.
IN PHOTO: This still frame from video provided by KABC-TV shows former FBI director James Comey, at top of stairs, and his entourage boarding a private jet at Los Angeles International Airport Tuesday.
In a flurry of tweets, Trump said Comey had "lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington," adding: "When things calm down, they will be thanking me!"
In his brief letter Tuesday to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.
IN PHOTO: James Comey
The administration paired the letter with a scathing review by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of how Comey handled the investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including his decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Clinton.
While Comey has drawn anger from Democrats since he reopened the email investigation in the closing days of last year's campaign, they didn't buy that justification for his firing.
Several Republicans joined them in raising alarms of how it could affect probes into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.