Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, suddenly stepped down, Monday, amid an internal probe into his handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton. McCabe’s eventual departure had been expected, after months of criticism from President Donald Trump and pressure from the bureau head to leave, however, the timing was surprising to many.
The FBI has come under fire after admitting on Wednesday to presenting exaggerated statistics to the public and Congress about the extent of problems posed by encrypted cell phones. The miscount was an embarrassment for the FBI as they push for a legal mandate that tech companies build devices which law enforcement can access.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the second-in-command at the bureau, late Friday, two days before he was to retire and become eligible for full pension benefits. The recommendation for the termination came from within the FBI, based on the findings of Clinton e-mail investigation. In an intense statement Friday night, McCabe said his firing is part of a larger effort to discredit the FBI and the special counsel Robert Muller’s investigation into the Russia investigation.
The FBI expressed ‘grave concerns,’ Wednesday, about the secret Congressional memo, which may be released Thursday, saying that it omits key facts, making it inaccurate. While Democrats fear the memo may be an attempt to discredit the inquiry into Trump’s campaign connections with Russia, Justice Department officials claim the memo’s release could expose classified information.
Yesterday, the Senate confirmed that Christopher Wray will be serving as the new director of the F.B.I.. Wray got an overwhelming 92-to-5, the only opposing votes being from Democrats. The Senate are confident about Wray as he has said on multiple occasions that he will not pledge allegiance to Donald Trump or any president. The post of director has been empty since May, when James Comey was fired by President Trump.
President Trump fired FBI Directory James B Comey on Tuesday. The former Director was heading a criminal investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election. He was dismissed for treating Hillary Clinton unfairly during the election and thus damaging the credibility of the FBI. Comey allegedly gave false information on evidence in the investigation surrounding Clinton.
Citing unidentified sources, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Donald Trump is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice. According to the Washington Post, investigation on Trump started just days after Comey was fired from the FBI on May 9th. Trump’s legal team were quick to denounce the report saying, “the FBI leak of information regarding the President is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”
On Wednesday, Trump announced his nominee for the next FBI Director, Christopher Wray, a white collar criminal defense attorney who led the Justice Department’s criminal division during George W. Bush’s presidency. In a statement, Wray said, “I look forward to serving the American people with integrity as the leader of what I know firsthand to be an extraordinary group of men and women who have dedicated their careers to protecting this country.”
Due to a conflict of interest, former Senator Joe Lieberman has withdrawn his name from consideration from becoming the newest FBI director. President Trump hired his longtime attorney Marc Kasowitz, who is a partner at the same law firm where Lieberman is senior counsel. Lieberman said, “With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner.”
At a private dinner in January, Trump had requested Comey pledge his loyalty to him but Comey refused. This may have been one of the key factors leading to why he was fired. One thing Trump may not have understood was that congress had passed a law in the 1970’s which gave directors of the FBI 10 year terms to outrun the president, meaning they were independent from the president and had no reason to be politically loyal to anyone. Trump has alleged that there are tapes of recorded conversations between the two of them and now both parties, Republicans, and Democrats agree that if Trump has the tapes he should turn them over to congress.
Trump has also come to light threatening to cancel all of his White House press briefings because “it is not possible” for his staff to be “perfectly accurate” when they address the American Public. This is due to a number of misleading statements being made in press briefings by his staff. He suggested offering written statements so no inaccuracies were made and so there are generally fewer misunderstandings.