President Donald Trump fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey on Tuesday, in a bit to restore “public trust and confidence” in the organization. Trump’s move came after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recommended that the controversial figure be pulled off the job.

While there has been speculation over whether Comey’s firing had anything to do with the agency’s investigation into the Trump associates’ alleged collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, the White House has maintained that the probe is not the reason behind Comey’s dismissal.

 Trump’s letter to Comey, dated May 9, said the director was “terminated and removed from office, effective immediately.”

Read: An Incomplete List Of Everyone Donald Trump Has Fired As President

trump letter This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. President Donald Trump firing Director of the FBI James Comey at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Trump added: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the Bureau.”

On the same day, Sessions wrote to the president: “Based on my evaluation, and for reasons expressed by the Deputy Attorney General in the attached memorandum, I have concluded that a fresh start is needed at the leadership of the FBI.”

sessions letter This picture shows a copy of the letter by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to U.S. President Donald Trump recomending the firing of Director of the FBI James Comey, at the White House in Washington, May 9, 2017. Photo: REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

“The Director of the FBI must be someone who follows faithfully the rules and principles of the Department of Justice and who sets the right example for our law enforcement officials and others in the Department,” Sessions’ letter said. “Therefore, I must recommend that you remove Director James B. Comey, Jr. And identify an experienced and qualified individual to lead the great men and women of the FBI.”

The reason stated by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was Comey’s handling of the probe into the then Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, where he publicly announced his decision to close the investigation into the former secretary of state’s use of a private email server while she was in office.

Rosenstein said: "Comey was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority on July 5, 2016, and announce his conclusion that the case should be closed without prosecution,” adding that “it is not the function of the Director to make such an announcement,” Bloomberg reported.

However, many are still wondering whether that was the real reason behind Comey’s dismissal as President Trump had previously asked the FBI director to continue in the position following his election, despite the administration knowing all the facts about Comey’s decision on Clinton.

Formerly a Republican, Comey was left with very few political allies in Washington D.C. as he had been at the receiving end of criticism from both Democrats — for reopening the Clinton email probe right before the presidential election — and the Republicans — who were critical of his decision to close the probe against Trump’s rival in the 2016 election.

Read: James Comey Says 'No Information' Obama Tapped Headquarters, Confirms Russia Probe

There were also a number of other things that Republicans held against Comey, for example, his public assertion that the Obama administration had not “wiretapped” Trump Tower last year, a claim made by Trump. The main bone of contention, however, could be Comey’s confirmation that the FBI was investigating whether any of Trump’s associates colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election where Trump defeated Clinton.

Sessions had been one of the Trump officials who was facing an increasing amount of pressure to resign as he failed to disclose that he had two meetings with the Russian ambassador last year. The attorney general finally decided to recuse himself from investigations into Russian interference in the election.

While Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have been openly critical of the president’s move, many Republicans have also raised issues with Comey’s dismissal.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said in a statement: “While the President has the legal authority to remove the Director of the FBI, I am disappointed in the President's decision to remove James Comey from office.”

“James Comey is a man of honor and integrity, and he has led the FBI well in extraordinary circumstances”, he added. “I have long called for a special congressional committee to investigate Russia's interference in the 2016 election. The president's decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee.”