U.S. President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, the White House announced Tuesday.
Trump fired Comey “based on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said, according to Reuters.
“A search for a new permanent FBI director will begin immediately.”
Trump’s administration has not outlined specific reasons for Comey’s firing aside from those mentioned in its brief statement. The White House is expected to release more information on the matter in coming days.
In March, the head of the FBI publicly challenged Trump, denying the Republican’s claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his 2016 election campaign and confirming his agency had launched a criminal investigation into any collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Comey confirmed the FBI has been investigating since last July alleged Russian government efforts to interfere in the election, including any links between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.
Comey served as FBI director from September 4, 2013 to May 9, 2017.