If re-elected, President Donald Trump may once again seek to clean house by replacing several top military and intelligence officials who have undermined his agenda as he attempts to drain the swamp.
While trying to avoid the political landmines at the FBI that befell his predecessor, James Comey, during the 2016 election, Wray may have stepped in one following the revelations that the FBI had taken possession of Hunter Biden‘s laptop in December 2019 and said nothing during Trump’s impeachment that month by House Democrats.
The bureau already had conducted a forensic analysis on before issuing the Dec. 9, 2019 subpoena for John Paul MacIsaac, owner of The Mac Shop in Wilmington, Delaware.
After Hunter Biden abandoned the computer at his store, MacIsaac examined the files, which appeared to offer evidence that was both incriminating for the Biden family and exculpatory for Trump.
Democrats claimed that the president had abused power by asking Ukraine to investigate the Bidens’ corruption in the Burisma scandal. But much of the case hinged on whether such an investigation was justified or simply politically motivated.
The FBI ostensibly sought the laptop as evidence in connection with an unrelated money-laundering case. It is unknown whether Hunter or Joe Biden was directly implicated in the matter being investigated or whether it remains an ongoing investigation.
The FBI’s suppression of politically relevant information at such a crucial time (Trump was impeached nine days later—on Dec. 18, 2019—but was ultimately acquitted in February by the Senate) was but one of the ways Wray has roiled the chief executive and his allies.
Notably, he also testified before the Congress that Antifa—the group largely responsible for escalating and perpetuating violence in major cities for months after the George Floyd race-riots—was not an organization but an ideology.
Considerable evidence—including prior eyewitness testimony from experts like conservative undercover journalist Andy Ngo—have outlined Antifa’s specific organizational structure, agenda, and guerilla tactics that include blending in with other protesters to instigate and foment violence.
But Wray’s testimony pointedly sought to placate Democrats who have insisted that Antifa was a myth or conspiracy theory designed to undermine “peaceful protests” in blue-run cities.
He misleadingly lumped together leftist radicals with other anti-government groups to suggest falsely that the greater threat to the country came from right-wing extremism.
The now-discredited accusations, based on Russian disinformation supplied by the Hillary Clinton campaign, hobbled Trump’s early presidency and played a direct role in Democrats reclaiming the House in 2018.
While intelligence agencies hoped to use the now-debunked Steele Dossier to spy on Trump’s campaign, they were unable to gain warrant approval without a more reliable justification.
That came courtesy of London-based Trump policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who has long maintained that intelligence operatives planted information about Hillary Clinton’s emails getting hacked in order to set him up as a patsy.
Haspel, the current CIA director, was hand-picked by her predecessor, Obama-era Director John Brennan, to run the agency’s London bureau. Coincidentally, several of the so-called predicating events that the FBI used to open its “Crossfire Hurricane” sting operation against the Trump campaign happened under Haspel’s bailiwick.
“Many of the people blocking these documents are likely implicated by them. You have these career bureaucrats whose careers may be destroyed by the facts within them,” Davis said. https://t.co/I58LLxRsWG
— The Federalist (@FDRLST) October 1, 2020
But Haspel appeared to push back against the suggestion that she is covering for herself and her CIA cronies by refusing to comply with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s request to declassify documents in the Obamagate scandal.
She has even hinted that she may resign before Trump has the opportunity to fire her.
“Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election,” a source close to Haspel told Axios.
Esper, who took over following the acrimonious exit of Jim “Mad Dog” Mattis, has followed his predecessor’s path in publicly undermining Trump’s agenda at times.
As Trump was declaring he would veto efforts to rename military bases honoring Confederate generals, Esper implemented a policy banning the display of the Confederate flag at bases.
Esper also promoted Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the so-called whistleblower who was instrumental in the impeachment crisis after claiming a July 2019 phone call between the Trump and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy constituted a quid-pro-quo agreement that violated government ethics regulations.
And he has second-guessed Trump’s statements several times about the military’s role in dealing with domestic insurrections that have been largely driven by left-wing rioters.
Those three would not be the only potential shakeups in Trump’s second term.
Axios reported that even some longtime Trump allies, such as Attorney General William Barr and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could be reassessed based on Trump’s frustrations with their lack of progress in certain priorities.
Nonetheless, public feuds with any top officials prior to the election might be potentially devastating as Trump turns to his leaders in the intelligence, defense and justice arenas to uphold stability and integrity in the besieged democracy’s electoral process.
“We have no personnel announcements at this time nor would it be appropriate to speculate about changes after the election or in a 2nd term,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios.