WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says ousted FBI Director James Comey “was not doing a good job.” It was Trump’s first public remarks about his firing Tuesday of the FBI chief.
Trump briefly spoke to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday after a closed meeting with Russia’s foreign minister. His remarks come as the White House is defending the decision to dismiss Comey. Administration officials have said the firing was not related to the investigation into possible contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Trump was joined by Henry Kissinger, former secretary of state and national security adviser under President Richard Nixon.
Vice President Mike Pence is defending Comey’s firing, saying the “president made the right decision at the right time.” He said Comey’s firing was not related to the investigation into possible contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
Pence says the administration is now looking forward to finding someone to lead the law enforcement agency.
Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, criticized Comey’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices.
Pence says Comey had lost the confidence of the American people. He says Trump took “strong and decisive leadership” to put the safety and security of the American people first.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee says there’s no need for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign in the wake of the firing of the FBI director.
GOP Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina says his committee has the jurisdiction and responsibility to continue its Russia investigation and “we are going to do that.”
However Burr reiterated questions about President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. “The timing of this and the reasoning for it doesn’t make sense to me.”
And, Burr said that the firing “made our task a little more difficult but it didn’t make it impossible so we’ll continue.”
Burr said he spoke to Trump but wouldn’t detail the exchange. He said they didn’t discuss his committee’s investigation
A Justice Department official says Attorney General Jeff Sessions is interviewing candidates to serve as the interim replacement for Comey.
Comey’s deputy, FBI veteran Andrew McCabe, has become acting director after Comey was fired by President Donald Trump.
But a Justice Department official says senior leaders are interviewing additional candidates who could do the job until a permanent replacement for Comey is named and confirmed by the Senate.
An announcement about Comey’s interim successor could come as soon as Wednesday.
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