In a shocking move Tuesday afternoon, President Trump fired FBI director James Comey via letter. Immediately following the public release of the letter, observers noted the passive-aggressive tone of one particular section. "While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate 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," he wrote in the letter's second paragraph.
By comparison, the rest of the letter is reasonably formal, at least by Trump standards. "Dear Director Comey," it begins. "I have received the attached letters from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General of the United States recommending your dismissal as Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I have accepted their recommendation and you are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately."
While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate 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.
Following that biting second paragraph, Trump continued: "It is essential that we find new leadership for the F.B.I. that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors."
Ouch. The abrupt termination of Comey's position at the FBI comes at a time when the FBI is investigating evidence of potential collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign. It also follows what the FBI describes as a mishandling of the Clinton email investigation.
Following the release of the letter, Twitter lit up with disbelief over the tone of that second paragraph.
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In other words, even while terminating an individual, Trump will take the opportunity to mislead the public.