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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.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

Scoop: Border officials project 13,000 child migrants in May

The "El Chaparral" border crossing at Tijuana. Photo: Stringer/Picture Alliance via Getty Images

A Customs and Border Protection staffer told top administration officials Thursday the agency is projecting a peak of 13,000 unaccompanied children crossing the border in May, sources directly familiar with the discussion told Axios.

Why it matters: That projection would exceed the height of the 2019 crisis, which led to the infamous "kids-in-cages" disaster. It also underscores a rapidly escalating crisis for the Biden administration.

4 hours ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia facilities in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

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