After a long — and controversial — stretch as director of the FBI, James Comey was fired by President Trump. It was a fitting end to one of the most memorable tenures in the FBI’s history.
Although many admired his work ethic and dedication, Comey often brought controversy on himself by stepping outside of his usual role. In July, he held a press conference that laid out all of the damning information found about Hillary Clinton, yet inexplicably declined to recommend charges. Months later, he invited more controversy by sending a letter to Congress about the reopening of the Clinton investigation. To top it off, he recently gave inaccurate testimony in front of the Senate. Needless to say, it was probably his time to go.
However, on his way out, the former director did find time to send out one last heartfelt letter to his colleagues.
I have long believed that a President can fire an FBI director for any reason, or 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 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.
Comey’s letter hits on the importance of the American people trusting the FBI, something the administration felt was lacking under his leadership. It was for that reason Comey was relieved of his position.
As the Comey era comes to an end, President Trump will work to find a qualified candidate to fill his shoes. Whomever is chosen, the first priority will be restoring trust in the FBI.
It’s more important now than ever.
[Note: This post was written by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]