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Trump Says ‘Probably’ a Mistake Putting Christopher Wray in Charge of FBI

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President Donald Trump said that it was “probably” a mistake to put Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray in his current post amid a litany of concerns about the agency chief’s conduct.

Following his decision in May 2017 to fire former FBI Director James Comey over his handling of an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump nominated Mr. Wray for the post. While Mr. Wray’s nomination breezed through the Senate in a 92–5 vote, the bureau director has become a top Republican target as he faces allegations of helping to “weaponize” the department.

During an interview with Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that aired July 16, Mr. Trump acknowledged that it was “probably” a mistake to put Mr. Wray at the head of the agency, blaming former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a one time ally turned foe, for the nomination.

Christopher Wray
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Judiciary Committee during a hearing on “Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 12, 2023. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

“Was it a mistake to put Christopher Wray there?” Ms. Bartiromo asked.

“Sadly, it probably was,” Mr. Trump replied. “You know, he was recommended very strongly by Chris Christie.” Mr. Trump has previously called Mr. Christie a RINO (Republican in name only).

Mr. Wray and his agency have come under fire for a series of allegations of abuse and agency overreach. Criticism of the agency only magnified following the FBI’s raid of Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida to recover what authorities believed would be classified documents in Mr. Trump’s possession.

In a heated appearance before the House Judiciary Committee last week, Mr. Wray defended the raid as the “lawful execution of a search warrant.” Mr. Trump has publicly disagreed, saying that his conduct is protected by the Presidential Records Act and that the case against him, authorized by President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ), amounts to little more than a political “witch hunt.”

‘Tremendously Political’

Mr. Trump fit the comments into his larger concerns with the FBI and DOJ, which he said have become “tremendously political.”

Mr. Trump is currently facing 37 federal counts due to the allegations regarding his handling of documents, which he and his supporters have characterized as an effort to hurt Republicans electorally.

“The FBI has become tremendously political,” Mr. Trump said. “DOJ is weaponized. And FBI is weaponized, too.”

Epoch Times Photo
The FBI seal is pictured in Omaha, Neb., on Aug. 10, 2022. (Charlie Neibergall/AP Photo)

However, he made a distinction between the leadership in the FBI and the bureau’s field agents.

“I know other people in the FBI, they’re incredible. The agents, they’re incredible. So I hate to say ‘the FBI’ because you have people in the FBI that are very angry … most of them aren’t corrupt. They’re great.

“The people in the FBI are not that way but the top people have been so bad—when you have [former Deputy FBI Director Andrew] McCabe, and you have Lisa Page and the whole group, [Peter] Strzok,” Mr. Trump said, citing an FBI duo that came under public scrutiny for text messages they shared promising to prevent Mr. Trump from winning the 2016 election.

“The FBI has tremendous problems of credibility,” Mr. Trump said. “The DOJ is weaponized, like I’ve never seen before. I mean, they come after me on boxes and they can’t find drugs,” a reference to the recently announced decision to close the investigation into cocaine found in a high-security area opposite the Situation Room of the White House.

‘FISA’s Corrupt’

Mr. Trump also addressed Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), a controversial surveillance tool that has been used to spy on American citizens and political actors within the United States.

In the most high-profile usage of the authority, the FBI directed its use against Trump associate Carter Page.

Carter Page
Carter Page, petroleum industry consultant and former foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump, in New York City on Aug. 21, 2020. (Brendon Fallon/The Epoch Times)

However, recent findings have shown that the authority was used against 3.3 million Americans illegally in 2020.

Even after the FBI promised reforms, the authority was shown to have been used to make an additional 200,000 illegal queries of American citizens—including unlawful searches on the information of Americans who participated in the Jan. 6 Capitol breach and Black Lives Matter protestors and rioters despite no suspicion that foreign intelligence would be gained.

In this context, some Republicans have called for Section 702 to be allowed to sunset for good when it expires at the end of 2023.

“Should FISA be renewed?” Ms. Bartiromo asked.

“Well, FISA’s corrupt,” Mr. Trump replied. “Corrupt: the whole system of FISA, the FISA courts,” he added for emphasis.

“The FBI was caught on many, many occasions. Look at my thing,” Mr. Trump said, an apparent allusion to the use of the tool against his associates. “They signed fake documents having to do with Russia, Russia, Russia. Russia was a total scam.”

Many of Mr. Trump’s top competitors for the GOP nomination in 2024, including runner-up Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, have said that they would remove Wray if elected.

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