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Story highlights

The White House says that Comey was fired over his handling of Clinton emails

Trump said his attorney general and deputy attorney general recommended the firing

(CNN) —  

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday that the firing of FBI Director James Comey doesn’t have anything to do with the current ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference into the 2016 election.

“This has nothing to do with Russia,” Conway told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “AC360” Tuesday evening, just hours after news of Comey’s firing broke. “Somebody must be getting $50 every time (Russia) is said on TV. … (This) has everything to do with whether the current FBI director has the President’s confidence and can faithfully execute his duties.”

Conway’s comments come after President Donald Trump – acting on recommendations from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein – shocked Washington by firing Comey, the man responsible for the bureau’s investigation to possible ties between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

In a letter, Trump told Comey that he was “hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately” after Trump determined Comey is “not able to effectively lead the bureau.”

Comey, who was in Los Angeles for a special FBI event, learned of his firing by watching television while in a meeting.

He testified before Congress on the handling of the Clinton email probe last week.

During his campaign, Trump commended Comey for his decision to send a letter to Congress that suggested the FBI was looking into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server again.

However, after Cooper played several clips of Trump praising Comey during the 2016 campaign, Conway said the clips were “irrelevant.”

“Thanks for the trip down memory lane,” she said. “Here’s what happened today … as President of the United States, (Trump) needs confidence in his FBI director, and he didn’t have it.”

She told Cooper the firing was “not all of a sudden,” and that Trump acted “decisively.”