Vice President Pence on Wednesday rejected claims from Democrats that FBI Director James Comey was fired to stop the bureau's investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

"That's not what this was about," Pence told reporters at the Capitol.

"The president's decision to accept the recommendation of the deputy attorney general and the attorney general to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based solely and exclusively on his commitment to the best interest of the American people," he said, responding to a question from NBC's Kristen Welker.

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Pence praised President Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Pence called "a man of extraordinary independence and integrity."

Trump "made the right decision at the right time," Pence said.

"Director Comey had lost the confidence of the American people," he added. "I personally am very grateful that we have a president willing to show the kind of strong and decisive leadership" necessary to fire him."

Trump fired Comey Tuesday evening in a letter that thanked Comey for "informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation." Trump said the firing was necessary to "find new leadership for the FBI that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."