In surprise move, Trump fires FBI director James Comey

In a surprise move, president Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey who was leading an investigation into whether Trump's election campaign had links to Russia's alleged interference in the US polls. The firing on Tuesdayday triggered a political storm.

Trump wrote a letter to Comey, 56, saying he was no longer able to effectively lead the bureau and it was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in it.

"You are hereby terminated and removed from the office, effective immediately," Trump said in the letter.

The move comes only days after Comey testified on Capitol Hill about the agency's investigation into Russia's alleged meddling into the US elections and a possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

In the letter, Trump acknowledged that Comey had informed him "on three separate occasions" that he was not under investigation. "I nevertheless concur with the judgement of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau," he added.

The White House said the search for a new FBI director would begin immediately.

Press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, "The president has accepted the recommendation of the Attorney General (Jeff Sessions) and the Deputy Attorney General (Rod Rosenstein) regarding the dismissal."

In a statement released by the White House, Trump said, "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."

According to commentators, Comey had come under intense scrutiny recently over his role in the agency's investigation into the email practices of, Democrat Hillary Clinton.

This included a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the final days of last November's election.