A day after US President Donald Trump sacked Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey, protesters gathered in Washington DC, Chicago and other cities calling for an independent investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.
Comey's ouster shocked Washington, especially as the FBI director had been accused by some critics of delivering the presidency to Trump when, less than two weeks before the November 8 vote, he weighed in on an investigation into Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
At the time, Trump welcomed Comey's intervention.
"I think it’s the biggest story since Watergate,” he said. "I think this changes everything.
On Tuesday he turned that accusation on its head when he fired Comey, in effect over the FBI's handling of the same investigation.
Trump's letter ending Comey's tenure as the nation's chief of police said his sacking was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI. The president said he was acting on the advice of the justice department, which said Comey had tainted the FBI through his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
TRTWorld’s Azadeh Ansari has more from Washington DC.
Democrats immediately labelled Trump's firing of Comey to be politically motivated and linked to Comey's Russia investigation.
Just before his sacking Comey had sought to expand his agency's probe into whether the Trump campaign had ties to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Trump has said he isn’t aware of any involvement by his aides in any Russian election interference calling the various investigations a "hoax."
Comey's ouster came as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was headed to Washington DC to discuss Russia-US relations, the war in Syria and other international issues.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday said Trump's firing of Comey would not impact relations.
"There will be no effect," Putin said.