Oct 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

FBI Agents Association: Don't fire Director Christopher Wray

Photo of FBI Director Christopher Wray holding his right hand up in the air

FBI Director Christopher Wray is sworn in prior to testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 18, 2018. Photo by Win McNamee via Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray should remain in charge of the Bureau, members of the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) wrote to President Trump and Joe Biden on Wednesday.

Why it matters: If re-elected, the president plans to immediately oust Wray. Trump has been vexed with his second FBI director and would’ve already fired him if he didn’t have to deal with the complications of acting before Nov. 3, one official previously told Axios.

Where it stands: Letters to Trump and Biden from the FBIAA, which represents more than 14,000 active and retired special agents, emphasized the importance of insulating the Bureau from politics. Whoever wins the election should allow Wray to finish his 10-year term for “the stability, credibility, and integrity of the Bureau,” the letters said.

  • The FBI is facing a “daunting threat environment,” FBIAA President Brian O’Hare wrote in the letter, including domestic and foreign terrorism, espionage, cyber-attacks and traditional crimes. Removing the FBI director directly after the election would raise national security issues, according to O’Hare.
  • “[P]olitics should not determine his fate as director. While the president can remove an FBI director, doing so could lead to instability and damage to the Bureau’s operations, which is why Congress intended to insulate the position of director from political whims.”
  • Active duty special agents, more than 90% of whom are represented by FBIAA, “respect Director Wray’s leadership,” O’Hare added. FBIAA is the only voice for special agents.

Wray is distrusted across the board in Trump’s inner circle.

  • Trump was irked that Wray didn’t launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business — records reviewed by Wall Street Journal showed no evidence of the former vice president’s involvement — and that he refused to purge more of the officials who investigated Trump’s 2016 campaign’s ties to Russia.
  • Perhaps the last straw was when Wray testified in September that the FBI had not seen widespread election fraud, including with mail-in ballots. Trump had repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims that mail-in voting would result in fraud.
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