Reports: Trump Admin. Has Been Pressuring FBI Director To Fire McCabe

Pool/Getty Images North America

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to get rid of his deputy director Andrew McCabe, according to new reporting from Axios.

Sessions has reportedly been pushing Wray to make personnel changes since December, pressure that comes at President Donald Trump’s public urging, according to Axios. Wray — whom Trump appointed in June to replace former Director James Comey after he fired him — threatened to resign if McCabe were fired.

Wray told Sessions he was frustrated by the pressure from the Department of Justice and the Trump administration, prompting Sessions to speak with White House lawyer Donald McGahn, who advised him to back off, according to The Washington Post. The White House wanted to avoid media uproar over a second FBI director’s departure, so McCabe remains in his post, according to three people with knowledge of the discussions who spoke with Axios.

In public and private, Wray has indicated that he wouldn’t curb to pressure to make personnel changes within his department unless he thinks they’re warranted, according to the Post.

In a statement from White House spokesman Raj Shah shared with Axios and the Post, the White House claimed Trump has “enormous respect” for the FBI, but reiterated that Trump “believes politically motivated senior leaders, including former Director Comey and others he empowered, have tainted the agency’s reputation for unbiased pursuit of justice.”

Trump’s vexation with McCabe became public in July when he tweeted questioning why Sessions hadn’t replaced McCabe as the acting FBI director. In that tweet, he falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton gave McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, “big dollars” for a Virginia state senate seat race in 2015.

According to The New York Times, McCabe may be eyeing an early 2018 retirement after his pension becomes eligible.

Comments