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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump is not happy with FBI director Christopher Wray and would love to replace him, according to three sources who've discussed the matter with the president.

But Trump has been deferring to Attorney General Bill Barr and is unlikely to remove Wray before the election, these sources said.

Behind the scenes: Trump's dissatisfaction with Wray — whom he nominated for the post in 2017 after firing Jim Comey — is nothing new. A source who has discussed the FBI director repeatedly with the president said Trump "has never felt like Wray was his guy" and does not trust him to "change the culture" of the FBI.

  • Trump was especially angered by what he views as Wray's reluctance to publicly criticize actions taken by Comey and by Wray's relatively muted reaction to the FBI's misconduct in seeking the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

What's new: Recent revelations in the case of Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, have heightened discontent with Wray in Trump's inner circle.

  • Figures close to Trump tell him that Wray cannot be trusted to root out what they view as "corruption" at the highest levels of the FBI.
  • While interviewing Trump on his eponymous podcast on Friday, pro-Trump commentator Dan Bongino said he doesn't "have a lot of faith" in Wray and asked the president if he trusts Wray to "enact reforms to ensure innocent Americans are not targeted again."
  • Trump dodged the Wray part of the question and instead pivoted to praising Barr.

Between the lines: Trump hasn't ousted Wray for two main reasons, according to senior administration officials and outside advisers who've discussed Wray's future with Trump.

  • First, some of Trump's key advisers don't want to kick the hornet's nest so close to an election by firing a second FBI director.
  • And, second, there isn't an obvious replacement who'd both pass muster on Capitol Hill and be the sort of loyalist Trump wants to run the FBI.

Go deeper

Scoop: Inside Trump's debate prep

Trump and Christie. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Two weekends ago, President Trump met with a group of his closest aides in the conference room of his Bedminster golf club to discuss a subject that has been weighing heavily on his mind: the three scheduled debates with Joe Biden.

Behind the scenes: In the room with Trump were his son-in-law Jared Kushner, campaign manager Bill Stepien, senior adviser Jason Miller, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who role-played Hillary Clinton in Trump's 2016 debate prep sessions.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

2 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.