President Trump has considered firing FBI Director Christopher Wray after Election Day on more than one occasion, according to people familiar with the matter — and his ouster may spell trouble for Attorney General William Barr.
According to a Washington Post story on Wednesday, a key element of dissatisfaction stems from the fact that Wray has done essentially what former FBI Director James Comey did in 2016 — announce that there was an open investigation into his rival within weeks of Election Day, this year Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. During a Sunday campaign rally, Trump spurred a rally to chant “lock him up” by playing on allegations of corruption and personal enrichment among the Biden family, a direct parallel to attacks he made against Hillary Clinton during 2016.
“They’re corrupt people. But Joe Biden is from a failed and corrupt political class,” Trump told the crowd.
Trump has likewise called on Barr to announce an investigation into the Biden family. During an interview on Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Trump said that Barr ought to appoint a special counsel to investigate materials from Hunter Biden.
“We’ve got to get the attorney general to act. He’s got to act. And he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption, and this has to be known about before the election,” Trump said.
Wray has garnered Trump’s ire on more than one occasion, including in September when he testified before the House Homeland Security Committee. At the time, he told lawmakers that members of the far-left antifa movement are “just one part” of the bureau’s investigation into domestic terror that also involved “racially motivated violent extremists,” to Trump’s chagrin.
“I look at them as a bunch of well funded ANARCHISTS & THUGS who are protected because the Comey/Mueller inspired FBI is simply unable, or unwilling, to find their funding source, and allows them to get away with ‘murder’. LAW & ORDER!” Trump tweeted.
…And I look at them as a bunch of well funded ANARCHISTS & THUGS who are protected because the Comey/Mueller inspired FBI is simply unable, or unwilling, to find their funding source, and allows them to get away with “murder”. LAW & ORDER! https://t.co/yHLzB0RQ8e
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
September 18, 2020
Following the testimony, Trump also told reporters that “we’re looking at a lot of things” when a reporter asked him if he planned to keep Wray. “I did not like his answers yesterday.”
More recently, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that Wray was working to “protect corrupt Democrats.”
This year, the FBI is keeping its information close to the vest, invoking DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s criticism of Comey for making pre-Election Day announcements about the investigation into Clinton’s use of an unauthorized private email server during her time as secretary of state. Though the bureau has suggested that the computer materials tied to Hunter Biden first reported on by the New York Post are genuine, it has not gone so far as to confirm that the emails are actively being investigated.
“Consistent with longstanding Department of Justice (Department) policy and practice, the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation or persons or entities under investigation, including to Members of Congress. As the Inspector General firmly reminded the Department and the FBI in recent years, this policy is designed to preserve the integrity of all Justice Department investigations and the Department’s ability to effectively administer justice without political or other undue outside influences,” FBI Assistant Director Jill Tyson wrote to Sen. Ron Johnson when he requested information about a potential investigation.
White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere told the Washington Examiner that the White House does not comment or speculate on personal matters. “If the President doesn’t have confidence in someone he will let you know,” he said.