President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday after senior Justice Department officials concluded that he'd mishandled the investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.
"You are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately," Trump told Comey in a personally signed letter obtained by NBC News.
"While I greatly appreciate your informing me, on three occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau," the president wrote.
Trump acted "on the clear recommendations of both Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement.
Three senior FBI and Justice Department officials told NBC News that Comey was given no warning in advance.
President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, ousting the nation's top law enforcement official in the midst of an investigation into whether Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's election meddling.
In a letter to Comey, Trump said the firing was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI. Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his role in an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year's election.
Trump made no mention of Comey's role in the Clinton investigation. But the president did assert that Comey informed him "on three separate occasions that I am not under investigation."