FBI Director Wray is under renewed scrutiny from Trump after the Justice Department abandons the Flynn case

FBI Director Wray is under renewed scrutiny from Trump after the Justice Department abandons the Flynn case
FBI Director Wray is under renewed scrutiny from Trump after the Justice Department abandons the Flynn case

Attorney General William Barr's push in recent weeks to reverse the prosecution of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn has had the unintended effect of inflicting collateral damage on FBI Director Christopher Wray, who is now being shot at by President Donald Trump.

Barr moved Thursday to drop the charges against Flynn, who pleaded guilty twice to two judges to lying to the FBI, citing the findings of an internal review that concluded the case was without merit. Wray was not with the FBI when the Flynn case began. But that hasn't mattered much to critics who believe that he hasn't done enough to make changes in the office.

The president named Wray in 2017 after firing James Comey. Since then, Wray, as is his style, has largely kept a lower profile than his predecessor, and has tried to distance himself and the bureau of former leaders who oversaw the start of the 2016 investigation into the interference. election campaign and links with Trump Campaign.

The FBI has said that under Wray, the bureau has cooperated with multiple investigations into the FBI's handling of Russia's investigation into the fact that Trump remains agitated. Wray also enjoys a good relationship with Barr, who has privately relayed that support to Trump, according to an administration official.

But a review of the Flynn case by federal prosecutor Jeffrey Jensen has helped reignite criticism of the president and his supporters, not only from the office but also from Wray.

In recent weeks, the Justice Department provided Flynn's lawyers with a cache of documents prominently featured in conservative media stories alleging that FBI corruption was at work in the investigation of former Trump national security adviser. That sparked a tidal wave of calls for Wray's firing of prominent Fox News hosts, whom the President is known to observe.

On Friday, Trump made his discontent with Wray clear in a call to the Fox News morning show.

"Well, a lot will be said in the coming weeks and let's see what happens," Trump said when asked about Wray. "It was named by (former Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein."

The president continued a rambling criticism of Wray, without citing details of what the FBI director did wrong, saying, "Let's see what happens to him. Look, the jury is still out on that, but it would have been much easier if he came out instead of dodging and going through 19 different ways except through the FBI. "

Wray's conservative criticism of the Flynn case reached such a point in recent days that the FBI issued an unusual statement defending the director.

"Under the leadership of Director Wray, the FBI has cooperated fully and has been transparent with the review conducted by Attorney Jeff Jensen, as well as with Attorney John Durham and with Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Regarding certain documents in the Michael Flynn is a matter of the 2016-2017 period that is now the subject of reports by the press, the FBI previously produced those materials to the Inspector General and the US Attorney Durham, "said the FBI.

"Director Wray remains firmly committed to addressing failures under the previous leadership of the FBI while upholding the fundamental principles of rigor, objectivity, responsibility, and ownership in fulfilling the Office's mission to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution," added the FBI.

Barr has tried to come to the rescue of Wray, offering a rebuttal at various points in recent months to other conservative allies of the president who have increased their criticism of the FBI director.

In interviews, Barr was quick to point out that Wray has cooperated with multiple exams ordered by Barr in the FBI's handling of sensitive issues, including probes led by Durham and Jensen that are often used by Trump to obtain political points.

"He has been a great partner to me in our effort to restore the confidence of the American people in both the Department of Justice and the FBI," Barr told CBS News on Thursday.

Barr also tried Thursday to protect Wray from attacks that the FBI had been withholding recently released documents, including internal emails and meeting notes, which supported the Justice Department's revocation in the Flynn case.

There are many cases in the Department of Justice and I do not consider it the responsibility of the director to ensure that all documents are produced in each case, "Barr said.

Wray has tried to distance himself from the controversy surrounding Comey, his predecessor, and in his first few months at the top of the office, he replaced the top executives who were part of Comey's leadership team.

He also moved quickly to condemn and implement corrective measures after the Justice Department inspector general revealed last year that FBI officials, under Comey, had made a series of mistakes and failures in trying to monitor a member of the Trump campaign as part of the Russia investigation.

"I am not someone, as is clear to many people, who expresses himself with hyperbole and strong rhetoric. I am someone who reflects his views through action," Wray testified in front of a House panel in February.

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