FBI agents were “caught totally off-guard” and one reportedly broke down in tears as news spread Tuesday that President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey.
Officials from the agency, including Comey, found out about the news from media outlets instead of internal channels, leaving many bewildered and demanding an explanation. The abrupt firing of Comey is reportedly creating even more anger and resentment within the bureau for the way politicians and the media have portrayed the agency since the 2016 election, reports Politico.
“I’m literally in tears right now,” a veteran special agent who’s worked with Comey for years told Politico.
“That’s all I have to say.”
Trump was allegedly upset Comey refused to say “there’s no ties” between his campaign and operatives in Russia. The timing of the departure is renewing urgent calls from Democrats and Republicans like Arizona Sen. John McCain to launch a special congressional committee to investigate any ties to Russia.
“Everyone is asking, ‘Why now? What is the reason for doing it now?’” a recently retired top FBI official told Politico.
“If this had happened immediately after the election, that would be one thing.
Everyone was thinking it may happen then. But now? People keep asking if it’s because of Russia.”
Trump justified the decision Tuesday saying Comey mishandled the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and could not longer effectively serve the agency.
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom said he is “glad it happened.”
Three former FBI assistant directors expressed satisfaction Comey was fired on Fox News Tuesday.