James Comey urges FBI to maintain independence amid sacking fallout

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The former FBI director James Comey has urged the bureau he led until his abrupt dismissal by Donald Trump to remain “a rock of competence, honesty, and independence”.

Comey addressed friends and staff in a widely reported letter on Wednesday, in which he stated his belief that Trump, as president, had a right to fire him irrespective of the circumstances.

“I have long believed that a president can fire an FBI director for any reason, or for no reason at all,” Comey wrote in the letter, which was first obtained by CNN.

“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.”

The letter marked Comey’s first known comments on his firing at the hands of Trump, which sent shockwaves across the country over the timing and perceived breach of due process and natural justice. Comey was leading an FBI investigation into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and reportedly sought more resources for the inquiry in the days leading up to his removal.

“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,” Comey wrote.

“What makes leaving the FBI hard is the nature and quality of its people, who together make it that rock for America.”

Here is the full text of James Comey’s letter:

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 

Guardian

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