FBI Director James Comey - who was leading an investigation into alleged links between Donald Trump's team and Russia - has been fired by the US President.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a statement that Mr Comey has been "terminated and removed from office."
Mr Trump was said to have acted on "clear recommendations" from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in a move that has shocked Washington.
However, Democratic Senators were quick to point out the constitutional crisis that has been created by Mr Trump removing a man in charge of investigating him.
Senator Dick Durbin said on the Senate floor that the firing of Mr Comey raises questions "as to whether the Russian interference in the last presidential election... will also be investigated by the FBI."
In another report, it was discovered “President Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday raises one, hugely important question: Did the U.S president dump Comey for mishandling the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email, as Trump and his team alleged? Or was Comey’s handling of the investigation simply a pretense to fire an independent-minded director who was investigating ties between Trump’s campaign and the Russians?
It will be recalled that Comey and his department have been investigating ties between the Russian government and the Trump camp for months.
The investigation seems serious. Trump has now fired a man who was a major potential threat to his presidency.
“Even some Republicans expressed wariness about the move. Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, who runs the chamber’s Intelligence Committee that is investigating Russian interference in the election, said, “I am troubled by the timing and reasoning of the Director Comey’s termination.” Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said the firing “will raise questions.”
Indeed, the firing of an FBI director isn’t quite unprecedented — in 1993, Bill Clinton fired William Sessions, who had been accused of “numerous ethical lapses” — but Comey’s tenure is among the shortest in the bureau’s modern history.
President Trump said in a letter that Comey was being “terminated and removed” because he was “not able to effectively lead the bureau.
Comey found out he had been fired while speaking to FBI employees in Los Angeles. He reportedly thought it was a prank.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois also called for an independent investigation: “Any attempt to stop or undermine this FBI investigation would raise grave constitutional issues,” Durbin said in a statement. “Under these circumstances, I renew my call for an independent counsel and a special commission to fully investigate the Russian interference.”
Comey was scheduled to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding Russian election meddling. It was unclear whether he still would testify. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, reportedly said it remained his expectation that the ousted FBI director would testify Thursday.
The Independent UK