Although widely criticized during the Trump presidency for reluctance to rein in bureaucratic abuses within his agency, FBI Director Christopher Wray received a ringing vote of confidence from new President Joe Biden.
Wray was appointed in 2017 to replace the fired James Comey, but while not as overtly corrupt as his predecessor, he continued the bureau’s tradition of foot-dragging and its lack of candor concerning certain sensitive probes that might reflect poorly on it, including the Russia-collusion hoax.
FBI directors are given 10-year terms, meaning leadership of the bureau is generally unaffected by changes in presidential administrations.
Trump, who had long considered firing Wray, clashed with him as recently as Tuesday, when he officially authorized the declassification of all remaining documents related to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation.
Wray opposed the release of the materials, estimated by conservative journalist John Solomon to be about a foot high.
Wray also helped fuel the false narrative promoted by Democrats that anarchist domestic terrorism group Antifa was an “ideology” and not an organization.
Biden invoked the claim while debating Trump, refusing to denounce the violence incited by Antifa and other radical leftist organizations.
However, that denial may come back on him as Antifa continued its ongoing clashes in cities like Portland, Seattle and Denver on Wednesday, undermining Biden’s Inauguration Day calls for “unity.”
Biden wasted little time on Wednesday signing executive orders to reverse Trump policies and requesting the resignation of other non-political Trump appointees, including Surgeon General Jerome Adams.
The new president also will need to fill the post vacated by CIA Director Gina Haspel, who resigned earlier this week.
Initially, White House press secretary Jen Psaki was noncommittal when asked at her first briefing Wednesday whether Biden had confidence in Wray.
“I have not spoken with him about specifically FBI Director Wray in recent days,” Psaki said.
On Thursday, she cleared up any confusion, tweeting: “I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press