President Donald Trump still has faith in his FBI director, Christopher Wray (pictured above), according to White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
“The president has confidence in Director Wray and his ability to clean up some of the mess left behind by his predecessor [James B. Comey],” Sanders told members of the press during the Tuesday afternoon briefing. “He certainly has confidence in the rank-and-file members of the FBI.”
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The statement of faith comes after a dark week for the Justice Department and the decision by Wray’s deputy, Andrew McCabe, to choose not to testify Tuesday before the House Intelligence Committee.
McCabe will testify next week.
McCabe’s delay may be connected to the almost-daily pounding given the stream of sensational revelations that some of the agency’s top investigators into Russian interference in the 2016 election were involved with Fusion GPS, a Washington opposition research firm that peddled dirt on the president.
The Fusion GPS efforts — paid for by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee — included compiling the so-called Trump dossier, which alleged that Trump was a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Last week, the Justice Department demoted Bruce G. Ohr, an associate deputy attorney general, for meeting in 2016 with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the dossier for Fusion GPS. On Monday, it was learned that Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during 2016.
Bruce Ohr’s meeting caught the DOJ by surprise — and caused the demotion. The department’s Office of Special Counsel, led by Robert Mueller, is spearheading the Trump-Russia investigation.
Similarly, Justice Department officials admitted earlier this month that FBI agent Peter Strzok, the second-in-command for counterintelligence, was removed from the Trump-Russia investigation over the summer when the FBI’s inspector general discovered Strzok had sent disparaging text messages about Trump during the 2016 campaign.
The proliferating conflicts of interest within the government’s top law enforcement agency prompted President Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, to call for a special counsel to investigate the Justice Department and its links to Fusion GPS and its dossier.
PoliZette White House writer Jim Stinson can be reached at [email protected].
(photo credit, homepage image: Intelligence & National Security Alliance Summit, CC 0, by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); photo credit, article image: Donald Trump, CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore / Intelligence & National Security Alliance Summit, CC 0, by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI))