WASHINGTON, D.C. — Emerging from the Senate chambers on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence said President Donald Trump “made the right decision at the right time” with Tuesday’s announcement that he has fired FBI Director James Comey.
“The administration is very confident that with the appointment of a new director of the FBI, [and] because of the president’s strong leadership, we’ll be able to give the nation’s leading law enforcement agency a fresh start,” Pence told a handful of reporters in the nation’s Capitol. “And because of the president’s decisive action yesterday to restore confidence and trust of the American people, we have an opportunity for a new beginning at the FBI.”
Later, and to a different group of reporters, the vice president said the decision was “based solely and exclusively on the best interest of the American people” and “trusted confidence” in the FBI.
“Director Comey had lost the confidence of the American people,” Pence said. “It was time for a fresh start at the FBI.” He added that President Trump “will take the time necessary” to find the appropriate individual to lead the FBI.
According to the White House Press Pool, President Trump said Comey “was not doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job.” Asked if Comey’s firing affected his meetings with Russians today, Trump relied, “Not at all.”
President Trump reportedly acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his decision to fire Comey.
Breitbart News reported that Rosenstein drafted a memorandum to Sessions on Tuesday where he said the reputation and credibility of the FBI had “suffered substantial damage” over this last year. He cited Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server as a “textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”
Also on Wednesday, Pence shot down suggestions that Trump’s firing of Comey was related to an ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians during last year’s presidential election.
“That is not what this is about,” the vice president told a pool of reporters at the Capitol.