Barr learned of Trump’s plans to dismiss Wray when Johnny McEntee, a top Trump aide, introduced him to Bill Evanina, a top counterintelligence in the administration who was being considered as a potential replacement for Wray, according to Business Insider.
When Barr realized Trump intended to fire Wray, he threatened to quit.
Sources said Barr had developed a close relationship with Wray, to the point where the two would have weekly lunches to discuss goings-on at the agencies.
However, Trump did not trust Wray, who assumed the role of FBI director in August of 2017.
Their relationship became publicly contentious after Wray endorsed a Justice Department inspector general’s report that said there was no evidence that political bias influenced the FBI’s Russiagate probe.
Wray “will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men & women working there!” Trump tweeted at the time.
Trump also blasted Wray for refusing to open a federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings during the 2020 presidential campaign.
It later became clear that the federal government had already opened an investigation into Hunter Biden, a fact that Barr kept quiet during the presidential campaign.
Wray still serves as FBI director.
Although initially noncommittal about Wray’s role under the Biden administration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki has since expressed confidence in his position.
“I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday, so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray in his role, and he has confidence in the job he is doing,” she tweeted in January.