Just hours before James Comey was set to speak at a Los Angeles recruitment event, President Donald J. Trump fired the FBI Director.
"The FBI is one of our nation's most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement," Trump said.
News of Comey's firing came just hours before he was set to speak at an event in Los Angeles as part of an FBI effort to boost recruitment of women and minorities.
The location of the event was kept secret from all but applicants who have been pre-approved.
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It was reportedly to be held at the Directors Guild of America theater on Sunset Boulevard, with doors opening at 4 p.m.
Comey was speaking to agents at the FBI's field office in Los Angeles when the news of his firing broke.
That's according to a law enforcement official who was present at the time Tuesday. The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the official wasn't authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
The official says television screens in the field office began flashing the news, and Comey initially chuckled. But he continued to speak to the agents, finishing his speech before heading into an office. He did not reappear in the main room.
By 5:30 p.m., NewsChopper4 was over Comey's motorcade making its way along the 405 Freeway. Despite rumors that he would still attend the event, it was not confirmed independently by NBC4. He was spotted boarding a plane at LAX.
The event was still slated to continue, with Comey or not, and was to be hosted by Deirdre Fike, the assistant director in charge of the bureau's Los Angeles field office. Fike is the first woman in the FBI's 100-plus-year history to lead the Los Angeles office.
Comey was expected to be the keynote speaker, with the agency saying he was "excited to meet with applicants as part of his commitment to diversifying the FBI," prior to the breaking news of his dismissal.
Comey came under fire Tuesday morning when the FBI notified the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey had misstated a key fact while recently testifying before the panel.
Comey had testified that investigators found thousands of former Clinton aide Huma Abedin's emails on the computer of her husband, Anthony Weiner, including some that contained classified information. Comey said Abedin had a habit of forwarding emails to Weiner, a disgraced congressman, possibly so he could print them, and said "hundreds and thousands'' of the messages were found on Weiner's computer.
The FBI reported Tuesday that investigators found a much smaller number of emails on Weiner's computer, and an even smaller number -- no more than 12 -- contained any classified information.
The Associated Press' Michael Balsamo contributed to this report.