In an April 12 interview, President Donald Trump said that he has faith in FBI Director James Comey, but would not take the possibility of firing him off the table.
"No, it's not too late, but, you know, I have confidence in him," Trump told Maria Bartiromo of FOX Business Network when asked if it had been a mistake to retain Comey upon taking office and if it were "too late now to ask him to step down," according to The Washington Post. "We'll see what happens. You know, it's going to be interesting."
Trump and Comey have clashed on multiple occasions, and the president has long criticized the FBI director for not indicting former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for using a private email server while she served as secretary of state
"Director Comey was very, very good to Hillary Clinton, that I can tell you," Trump added during the interview. "If he weren't, she would be, right now, going to trial."
Trump said that he didn't "want to talk about that" when pressed on whether or not he would pursue the investigation surrounding Clinton's email use, but did say that she was "guilty on every charge" of which the FBI cleared her following the initial probe.
"Don't forget, when Jim Comey came out, he saved Hillary Clinton," the president explained. "People don't realize that. He saved her life, because -- I call it 'Comey won.' And I joke about it a little bit."
Trump and Comey have not seen eye on several other issues, including Trump's allegations that former President Barack Obama's administration had his campaign wiretapped, a claim which Comey dismissed in late March as having "no information" to back it up, according to The New York Times. Around that time, the FBI director confirmed during a congressional hearing that the FBI was investigating whether or not the Russian government meddled in the 2016 election and whether or not the Trump campaign had any significant ties to the foreign government.
The FBI director typically serves a 10-year term as a part of the Department of Justice and seeks to operate above partisan politics and administration changes, notes The Washington Post. As such, it is rare to see an FBI director fired by a new administration, and only one president in the last 40 years has removed an FBI director, when former President Bill Clinton fired William S. Sessions in 1993 for reported ethical violations.