When Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017 he became only the second president ever to do so. (The other was President Bill Clinton, who fired William Sessions from the position in 1993 for ethics violations.)
Were it not for the intervention of Pat Cippollone and other White House lawyers Trump has been very close to becoming the first president to fire two FBI directors. NBC News is reporting that Trump was “strongly” advised not to dismiss Christopher Wray because it would put the president in legal jeopardy, reigniting legal issues similar to those that arose after Trump fired Comey.
The concern is that firing Wray would risk creating the perception that a “loyalty test” was being imposed on a position that traditionally has maintained independence from the White House. Trump has publicly urged Wray to take specific investigative actions, such as beginning a probe into President-elect Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. When Wray has refused to do the president’s bidding Trump has publicly criticized the FBI director.
Trump’s consideration of firing Wray may have been put on the back burner with the announcement that the FBI has, in fact, been investigating Hunter Biden since 2018. But multiple administration officials told NBC News that Trump go on a firing spree on a whim at any time between now and the end of his term, now just a little more than four weeks away.
Among others potentially on the president’s chopping block are acting Homeland Security Director Chad Wolf and CIA Director Gina Haspel, both of whom he feels betrayed him. The White House issued a statement saying that it has “no personnel announcements at this time.”