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James Comey staying as FBI director under Trump, sources say

FBI Director James Comey attends a reception for

FBI Director James Comey attends a reception for law enforcement officers and first responders in the Blue Room of the White House on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. He told FBI senior leaders that President Donald Trump has asked him to stay in his post, people familiar with the matter say. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Mandel Ngan

FBI Director James Comey, whose agents are pursuing multiple lines of inquiry that intersect with the Trump administration and who himself is under a Department of Justice Inspector General investigation, has told people he has been asked to stay in his post, people familiar with the matter say.

Comey told FBI senior leaders about the decision on a recent teleconference call.

Both the FBI and the White House declined to confirm revelation Tuesday.

The news might have been routine: Comey is less than four years into a 10-year term, and it is extremely rare for a president to remove an FBI director. But President Donald Trump had notably declined to say whether he would keep the FBI director, telling “60 Minutes” after his election that he wanted to meet with Comey first.

Comey has come under fire from both sides of the political aisle in recent months, especially for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. He also will likely have to walk a political tightrope as the FBI pursues an investigation that intersects with the new administration.

The bureau is continuing to explore Russian hacking and interference in the presidential election that is believed to have been conducted, in part, to help Trump win. Agents are also reportedly looking into allegations that Trump associates or acquaintances might have had improper contact with Russian officials or intermediaries.

Comey personally told Trump about a dossier that included unverified but allegedly compromising personal information about Trump, people familiar with the matter have said.

At a news conference Monday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump “has not made any indication that he would stop an investigation of any sort.”

At times, it has seemed Comey has few friends in politics. When he announced in July that he was recommending that the Clinton email investigation be closed without charges, Republicans lambasted the FBI director for — in their view — coming to the wrong conclusion on the facts he himself laid out.

In October, when Comey revealed to Congress that the probe was back on, Democrats lambasted the FBI for violating long-standing Justice Department policies against taking overt steps in an investigation so close to Election Day.

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