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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

Department of Homeland Security calls election "the most secure in American history"

President Trump signed the act that established the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

A top committee made up of officials from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its election partners refuted President Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in a statement Thursday, calling the election "the most secure in American history."

The big picture: Trump has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden and is pursuing lawsuits in a number of states with baseless claims of voter fraud. The public statement from the president's own Department of Homeland Security undermines his narrative and is sure to infuriate him.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

New deals in the COVID economy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 is the macro horror of our lifetimes, and has destroyed or severely damaged countless businesses. But, like with most horribles, it also has created some opportunities.

Driving the news: Merck this morning announced an agreement to buy OncoImmune, a Maryland-based biotech that showed promising late-stage clinical results for a therapy that treats severe and critical coronavirus cases.

2 hours ago - Technology

Biden's openings for tech progress

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images 

Item No. 1 on President-elect Joe Biden's day-one tech agenda, controlling the flood of misinformation online, offers no fast fixes — but other tech issues facing the new administration hold out opportunities for quick action and concrete progress.

What to watch: Closing the digital divide will be a high priority, as the pandemic has exposed how many Americans still lack reliable in-home internet connections and the devices needed to work and learn remotely.

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