“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 in a release.
Several senior officials within the FBI and the U.S. Justice Department said they were given no advance notice of the firing ahead of the press release, according to Tom Winter of NBC News.
The release said the White House will begin a search for Comey’s replacement immediately.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said that the FBI director who would replace James Comey, “must be strong and independent.”
Feinstein said in a statement that Trump called her Tuesday afternoon to tell her that Comey was being removed from the top FBI job. When Trump announces a replacement, the nomination would be reviewed by the Judiciary Committee.
WATCH: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Was Asked About President Trump’s Confidence In FBI Director James Comey Prior To Comey’s Firing On Tuesday.
Comey testified before Congress last week about the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible connections between Russia and Trump’s campaign.
On Tuesday, The Associated Press reported there were errors in his testimony as Huma Abedin, one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides, did not forward “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop as Comey recently testified, and never sent anything that was marked classified, according to a person familiar with the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server.
The FBI later sent a letter to Congress correcting the record of Comey’s testimony on Abedin.
WATCH: FBI Director James Comey Testifies On Russia Electoral Meddling, Wiretap Allegations
Clinton has handed partial blame for her election loss to Comey after he issued a letter in the closing days of the 2016 election campaign which said the FBI was looking further into the email scandal.
“I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey’s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but were scared off,” Clinton said at the Women for Women International Conference.
She added: “If the election were on October 27, I’d be your president.”
Trump has been at odds with the U.S. intelligence community since before he was elected and last week he live tweeted as Comey gave his testimony before the Russia probe.
Celebrities are reacting to the news of Trump’s brash firing of Comey with both humour and shock on Twitter:
With files from The Associated Press and Reuters