Leadership

Paul Ryan: Speaker says 'people had lost confidence' in Comey

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier" Wednesday that "people had lost confidence" in fired FBI Director James Comey prior to his dismissal by President Trump Tuesday.

"Most importantly, he lost the confidence of the president," Ryan told host Bret Baier. "It is entirely within the president’s role and authority to relieve him and that’s what he did."

In his first interview since Comey's ouster, Ryan also pushed back against Democratic calls for a special prosecutor to investigate possible ties between Russian officials and Trump's presidential campaign.

"I don't think that's a good idea," said Ryan, who noted that the House and Senate intelligence committees are investigating the matter in addition to the FBI. 

"Don’t forget, the methods and sources of our intelligence-gathering are also at play here and we have to be very sensitive so that we don’t compromise that information as well," Ryan went on. "Let’s get [these investigations] done. Let’s see them through. Let’s go where the facts may lead."

Ryan described Comey as a "worthwhile and dedicated public servant." However, he added that Comey's "conduct, his actions and some of the comments that he had made" caused lawmakers from both parties, as well as top Justice Department officials and the president, to conclude that he was no longer up to the job.

"[Trump] does not want to see the FBI in disarray," Ryan said, "I think Director Comey kind of became an issue himself."

The speaker called on the White House to nominate a "capable" replacement for Comey "very soon" and sought to reassure the FBI's rank-and-file that "their jobs are valuable and that they have to keep doing what they’re doing [and] do their jobs objectively and thoroughly."