Meanwhile, a farewell letter from Comey that circulated among friends and colleagues said he does not plan to dwell on the decision to fire him or on "the way it was executed". "There's no good time to do it. ..."

The White House had made claims previously that a Justice Department recommendation had spurred the President to oust the Federal Bureau of Investigation chief. The Republicans like him.

"I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation", Trump told NBC News's Lester Holt. McCabe added that it had been a great honor and privilege to work with Comey. "That's a question I would have to refer you to the Department of Justice". I know that. Everybody knows that.

McCabe, who joined the FBI 20 years ago and became deputy director last year, is respected within the bureau. "It hasn't recovered from that".

Mr Trump, in a letter to Mr Comey, contended that the director had told him "three times" that he was not personally under investigation.

Former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteGOP senators pitch Merrick Garland for FBI director Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report Bottom Line MORE (R-N.H.) is reportedly a contender to replace former FBI Director James Comey.

"I can speak to my own personal experience", Sanders said. He promised he would tolerate no interference from the White House and would not provide the administration with updates on its progress. "A dinner was arranged", Trump said. The Washington Post on Wednesday quoted Thomas O'Connor, who heads the FBI Agents Association, as saying that Comey's termination was "a gut punch".

"I look forward to receiving the IG's findings", Chaffetz said. "We didn't see it coming, and we don't think Director Comey did anything that would lead to this".

It's even something Trump threatened Hillary Clinton with in a presidential debate.

White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that Comey had suffered a steady erosion of support that began in the Oval Office and spread across government. In March, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything related to the Russian Federation investigation. "I want the investigation speeded up".

He reiterated his long-standing position that there was no "collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians". The phony Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election.

On Monday, he made it clear to close advisers like Vice President Mike Pence, chief strategist Steve Bannon, and White House counsel Don McGahn that he wanted to fire Comey.

Comey had not allowed the White House to preview his testimony beforehand, which Trump and his aides considered "an act of insubordination", according to Reuters.