I understood that the Director of the FBI reported to the Attorney General.

If the reason to fire Comey was because of reasons unrelated to the Russia investigation, why didn't Jeff Sessions fire him ?

And if Sessions wanted to avoid suggestions of partiality here, why didn't Rosenstein fire him ?

In short: why did Trump take the step of firing him when he could have let either of Comey's more immediate superiors do the job ?

  • 1
    Sessions did fire him...indirectly.
    – user1530
    May 10, 2017 at 18:00
  • Because if you read Rosenstein letter, he did not suggest to fire him, hence we could infer that he probably would not have done it.
    – Federico
    May 10, 2017 at 20:17

1 Answer 1


Director of the FBI is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

According to the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968

... the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, ...

If Sessions/Rosenstein had dismissed Comey this move would be:

  1. Legally dubious - it's unclear whether Attorney General has the power to remove the official appointed by the POTUS.
  2. Unprecedented - FBI director was only fired once, by the POTUS.

At the same time, Donald Trump's firing of Comey was:

  1. Within the law - the President has the power to remove any executive branch official.
  2. Precedented - in 1993 president Clinton fired William Sessions.


  • 1
    Thanks for the explanation. I had assumed that since Comey reported to the AG, that the AG would therefore have the ability to fire him.
    – tmark
    May 11, 2017 at 14:27

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .