Taking the generous way out, former FBI Director James Comey sent a farewell letter on Wednesday to friends and agents, in which he notes he does not bear a grudge and notes that “a President can fire an FBI Director for any reason, or for no reason at all” and adds that “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.”
Comey urges the FBI, which he described as “a rock of competence, honesty, and independence” to continue its “mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution” and concludes by saying that his “hope is that you will continue to live our values and the mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. Working with you has been one of the great joys of my life. Thank you for that gift.”
Full letter below, via CNN:
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.
That’s the good FBI cop. The bad cop emerged in a NYT report on the last days of Comey. Some details:
By the end, neither of them thought much of the other. After President Trump accused his predecessor in March of wiretapping him, James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, was flabbergasted. The president, Mr. Comey told associates, was “outside the realm of normal,” even “crazy.”
For his part, Mr. Trump fumed when Mr. Comey publicly dismissed the sensational wiretapping claim. In the weeks that followed, he grew angrier and began talking about firing Mr. Comey. After stewing last weekend while watching Sunday talk shows at his New Jersey golf resort, Mr. Trump decided it was time. There was “something wrong with” Mr. Comey, he told aides.
* * *
Mr. Comey’s fate was sealed by his latest testimony about the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to sway the 2016 election and the Clinton email inquiry. Mr. Trump burned as he watched, convinced that Mr. Comey was grandstanding. He was particularly irked when Mr. Comey said he was “mildly nauseous” to think that his handling of the email case had influenced the election, which Mr. Trump took to demean his own role in history. At that point, Mr. Trump began talking about firing him. He and his aides thought they had an opening because Mr. Comey gave an incorrect account of how Huma Abedin, a top adviser to Mrs. Clinton, transferred emails to her husband’s laptop, an account the F.B.I. later corrected. They also assumed that because Democrats were mad at Mrs. Clinton for recently blaming her loss on Mr. Comey, there might not be as much objection if the president fired him.
* * *