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US President Donald Trump has fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to a White House official.

Mr Comey, a Republican who was appointed by Mr Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, was fired after a series of controversies that critics said were undermining the reputation of the law enforcement agency.

“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued by the White House press office.

The White House said that the decision was based on the “clear recommendations” of Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

“Given the recent controversies surrounding the director, I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well,” said Lindsey Graham, a senior Republican senator on the Senate judiciary committee. “I encourage the president to select the most qualified professional available who will serve our nation’s interests.”

The White House said it will begin the search for a permanent replacement for Mr Comey immediately.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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