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Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election

Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election

President Trump has reportedly talked with his advisers about the possibility of firing FBI Director Christopher Wray after Election Day due to the president’s frustration that federal law enforcement officials have not delivered information that would help him politically in the final weeks before the election, people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.
According to the sources, discussions between the president and his senior aides have resulted from criticisms that Wray and Attorney General William Barr have not fulfilled Trump’s wish for an official investigation to be launched into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

The sources, who the Post said spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to freely disclose internal discussions, said Trump has indicated he wants actions similar to those made ahead of the 2016 election by FBI Director James Comey, who told Congress he had reopened an investigation into then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of State.

Polling data from 2016 showed that Comey’s announcement, which came just 11 days before the presidential election, significantly impacted Clinton’s lead over Trump heading into Election Day.

The sources told the Post that Trump believes Wray was one of his worst personnel picks, and both White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and top Trump adviser Dan Scavino have also criticized Wray in internal conversations.

White House spokesman Judd Deere told the Post that the White House does not speculate on personnel matters, adding that “if the president doesn’t have confidence in someone he will let you know.”

In their advocacy for an official investigation into the Bidens, Trump and his allies have recently used a New York Post article that alleged Hunter Biden helped broker a meeting between an executive at the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma and his father when Joe Biden was vice president.

The story has since been disputed by Biden’s campaign, and outside intelligence experts have raised concerns about whether it could be part of a foreign disinformation campaign.

However, the FBI said in a letter sent Tuesday night to Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) that it had “nothing to add” to a statement made by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe earlier this week in which he dismissed suspicions that the reports on Hunter Biden resulted from a Russian disinformation campaign.

The FBI “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any ongoing investigation or persons or entities under investigation, including to Members of Congress,” Tuesday’s letter from FBI Assistant Director Jill Tyson said.

In recent weeks, Trump has continuously targeted Wray, whom Trump nominated in 2017, particularly after Wray contradicted the president’s assertions about potential fraud in mail-in ballots and his description of the group antifa.

During last week’s NBC town hall, Trump argued that Wray is “not doing a very good job” after moderator Savannah Guthrie cited the FBI director’s comments that there is no evidence of widespread fraud in mail-in voting.

Trump has also recently levied criticisms against several other key members of his administration. Earlier this month, Trump expressed frustration at Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for what he described as a failure to implicate his political enemies in wrongdoing.

More recently, Trump criticized Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for not delivering a result after weeks of coronavirus relief talks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
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