'WASN'T DOING A GOOD JOB'
Top U.S. Republicans rallied to Trump's defense, but some called the action troubling.
Republican House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said in a statement on Wednesday he had requested a review by the Department of Justice's inspector general of Trump's decision to fire Comey, who had more than six years left in his 10-year post.
Comey's dismissal stunned Washington and plunged Trump deeper into a controversy over his campaign's alleged ties with Russia that has dogged the early days of his presidency, while also threatening to hinder his policy goals.
"He wasn't doing a good job, very simply," the Republican president said of Comey during a meeting with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the White House Oval Office.
The administration said on Tuesday that Comey's firing stemmed from his handling of an election-year FBI probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state.
White House officials said Trump's anger at Comey had been building for months but a turning point came when the FBI chief refused to preview for top Trump aides his planned testimony to a May 3 Senate hearing on the Clinton email issue, an act Trump and his aides took it as an act of insubordination.
Trump had been considering letting Comey go "since the day he was elected" in November, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. She referred to what she called Comey's "atrocities in circumventing the chain of command" at the Justice Department.
Many Democrats have criticized Comey's management of the Clinton investigation, but they questioned the timing of his dismissal, given that Trump could have acted soon after taking office on Jan. 20 and that he has repeatedly criticized the FBI and congressional probes into Russia's role in the election.
In a flurry of Twitter posts, Trump said Comey had "lost the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike." He added, "Dems have been complaining for months & months about Dir. Comey. Now that he has been fired they PRETEND to be aggrieved. Phony hypocrites!"
The Senate minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, said Rosenstein should appoint a special prosecutor. Schumer called on Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold closed and potentially classified briefings with all senators to question the top Justice Department officials, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein.
"We know Director Comey was leading an investigation (into) whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians, a serious offense. Were those investigations getting too close to home for the president?" Schumer said.