Donald Trump has spent the better part of the year at war with the FBI, because he knows the bureau is in a position to expose his Russian treason and his lifetime of crimes. He’s publicly harassed, berated and threatened various FBI leaders. He infamously and illegally fired FBI Director James Comey. He’s still trying to get rid of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. But the one person in the FBI who’s on his side is his own handpicked new Director, right? As it turns out, not so much.
This summer, Trump nominated Christopher Wray as his new FBI Director. Based on his pattern of choosing his people, Trump clearly believed that Wray would throw the investigation in his favor, or at least be heavily biased in his favor. It appears that Wray has been playing along with this, at least to some extent. For instance Wray reassigned the FBI’s top lawyer Jim Baker for no valid reason, and it’s clear the move was only made because Baker is a witness in the obstruction case against Trump. Up to now it hasn’t been clear if Wray was eagerly helping Trump out, or simply doing enough to keep Trump satisfied. But now Wray is letting leak that he’s had enough.
Trump’s vicious public attacks this weekend on McCabe appear to have been enough to push Wray over the edge. Take this sentence from a new Wall Street Journal report (link): “Associates of Mr. Wray said the director has confidence in Mr. McCabe and admired how he ran the bureau after Mr. Comey’s firing. Mr. Wray doesn’t want to appear to have buckled under pressure from Mr. Trump or Republicans, the associates said.” Remarks like this don’t find their way into major newspapers by accident.
The only way that Christopher Wray’s “associates” would be sharing Wray’s views with the Wall Street Journal is if Wray himself told them to. This is his way of publicly pushing back against Trump’s antics. Trump may not take the hint, and Andrew McCabe may or may not survive this. But either way, it’s clear that Wray has already had enough of Trump’s crap. Yet again, Trump has misjudged his man.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report