President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired FBI Director James Comey after his attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended his removal.
On Wednesday morning, GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio issued this statement:
“I want to thank Director Comey for his service to our country. Regardless of his handling of the Clinton email matter during the presidential election last year — for which both parties had questions and concerns — he has always done what he believed was in the best interest of the country. Given the timing and circumstances of the decision, I believe the White House should provide a fuller explanation regarding the president’s rationale. The American people must have faith in a strong, independent FBI. I’m concerned about eroding trust in this premier law enforcement agency. It is important that whoever is nominated to succeed Director Comey is a highly-qualified and respected leader who will provide a fresh start for the bureau.”
A number of Ohio's Democratic elected officials were quick to express dismay and disapproval with the move. Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich tweeted on Tuesday that he was troubled by the firing.
Gov. John Kasich statement on James Comey pic.twitter.com/Wrwj6sGqnz
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) May 10, 2017
Trump: "I wish you the best of luck"
In a signed letter, Trump informed Comey Tuesday that he was "hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately," explaining that he reached the conclusion that Comey is "not able to effectively lead the bureau."
"It is essential that we find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission," Trump told Comey in the letter. "I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."
Comey was appointed FBI director by President Barack Obama in 2013.
Comey's decision to thrust himself repeatedly into the 2016 election, put him at odds with the FBI's general decision to stay away from the political spotlight.
Comey and Clinton
Comey made the decision in July to go public with his recommendation that the Justice Department not pursue any charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or her former staffers over her email practices as secretary of state. However, he also took the opportunity to rebuke Clinton at length as being "extremely careless" with sensitive information.
Then-candidate Trump had talked up the investigation until this point, at which time he and his campaign derided Comey for the "political" decision.
Just days away from the election, Comey jumped into the race again. He informed Congress, via letter, that the FBI had re-opened its investigation into Clinton. The decision was made because of its investigation into former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who is married to Clinton confidant Huma Abedin.
Comey followed up days later with another letter, informing Congress that the FBI didn't find anything and continued to believe Clinton's practices did not merit the pursuance of any criminal charges.
After Clinton's loss, former President Bill Clinton blamed Comey for it, as have many Clinton staffers, at least in part.