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New FBI chief will be far better than man I fired, insists Trump

By Julie Pace

Donald Trump has defended his sacking of FBI director James Comey and vowed to replace him with someone "far better".

The US President "terminated" Mr Comey, with the top US law enforcement official ousted while he was speaking to agents.

The firing came as the FBI investigated whether Mr Trump's campaign had ties to Russia's meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.

In a letter to Mr Comey, Mr Trump said the sacking was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI, but his political opponents were quick to compare the President's actions to those of one of his predecessors, Richard Nixon, during the Watergate affair that eventually toppled him.

Mr Trump tweeted that Mr Comey "will be replaced by someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI".

He also attacked Democrats who were critical of his firing of Mr Comey. Mr Trump said Democrats "have said some of the worst things about James Comey, including the fact that he should be fired, but now they play so sad!".

The President said Republicans and Democrats will soon "be thanking me" for firing Mr Comey.

He tweeted that Mr Comey had "lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike", adding that "when things calm down, they will be thanking me!".

Mr Comey has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on 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 campaign.

Mr Trump made no mention of Mr Comey's role in the Clinton investigation.

But in announcing the firing, the White House circulated a scathing memo, written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, criticising Mr Comey's handling of the Clinton probe, including the director's decision to hold a news conference announcing its findings and releasing "derogatory information" about Mrs Clinton.

Vice-President Mike Pence defended the firing of Mr Comey, saying the "President made the right decision at the right time".

He said Mr Comey's firing was not related to the investigation into possible contacts between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

Mr Pence said the administration was looking forward to finding someone to lead the law enforcement agency.

He added that Mr Comey had lost the confidence of the American people and that Mr Trump took "strong and decisive leadership" to put the safety and security of the American people first.

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