In more evidence that Donald Trump seeks to pressure the FBI into doing his bidding, a new report indicates that the president and attorney general Jeff Sessions tried to pressure FBI Director Christopher Wray into firing Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Instead of bowing to the president, Wray refused to cave and even threatened to resign if McCabe was removed from his position.
The lead from the eye-opening Axios report: “Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Donald Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge.”
The report continues, explaining why this latest Trump effort to put pressure on an FBI director is a huge deal: “Trump started his presidency by pressuring one FBI Director (before canning him), and then began pressuring another (this time wanting his deputy canned). This much meddling with the FBI for this long is not normal.”
As Rachel Maddow also pointed out during her program on Monday, the pressure the president and the attorney general put on Wray to fire McCabe is part of a Trump pattern. Over the course of his presidency, he has tried to remove anybody who might confirm former FBI Director James Comey’s damning testimony that Trump tried to influence him on the Russia investigation – the basis of what is now a growing obstruction of justice case against this president.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) January 23, 2018
Maddow explained why this is “serious stuff”:
McCabe and Jim Baker, the FBI counsel who Sessions apparently has been pressuring the FBI to remove both of them, those were two of the people who James Comey confided in when he had conversations with the president that were later described as likely forming the basis of an obstruction of justice case against the president if Robert Mueller goes in that direction with the special counsel investigation. We’ve been watching them one by one go after the people who Comey confided in after he had those conversations with the president. Trying to discredit them and get them fired from the FBI would certainly be a way to undermine the credibility of those witnesses who would otherwise stand with Comey in terms of what happened between him and the president around Mike Flynn and the Russia investigation before Comey was fired. Serious stuff.
As the Axios report noted on Monday, this level of sustained pressure from a President of the United States on the FBI is not normal – and it only gives Robert Mueller more fuel for what is likely a growing obstruction case against Donald Trump.