The way in which Donald Trump introduced Christopher Wray as his choice to lead the FBI last year, the process seemed strange. As regular readers may recall, when the president tweeted the news, the White House had nothing prepared on Wray or the decision. Neither did the FBI or the Justice Department. Key lawmakers on Capitol Hill, whom you’d expect to be in the loop, were caught completely off guard.
According to a Politico report, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) told Trump that Wray would make a good choice, and the president impulsively agreed without telling anyone. According to White House sources, Trump was “simply tired” of looking for James Comey’s replacement, so he went with Christie’s recommendation.
According to an NBC News report, the president isn’t altogether pleased with his decision.
In recent conversations with confidants, President Donald Trump has added FBI Director Christopher Wray to his list of key members of his administration whom he complains about, three people familiar with the discussions tell NBC News.
Trump has criticized Wray as another figure in the Justice Department who is not protecting his interests – and is possibly out to undermine his presidency, these people said.
Trump is “in the worst mood of his presidency and calling friends and allies to vent about his selection of (Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and Wray,” said one person familiar with the president’s thinking. This person said the president was particularly focused on both men over the Labor Day weekend.
Let’s not forget that Trump saw Comey as insufficiently loyal to the White House’s political agenda. By that reasoning, the president was necessarily looking for an FBI chief who would be more of a “team player.”
The fact that Wray hasn’t made any apparent effort to protect Trump’s political interests means it was probably inevitable that he’d end on the president’s bad side.
More from the NBC News report:
While Trump has criticized the FBI generally, saying the bureau is biased against him, he has not gone after Wray personally.
That has changed, the people familiar with the president’s thinking said, as Trump’s frustration with his Justice Department has escalated. He’s pointed to issues such as the resistance by the FBI to turn over documents to congressional Republicans. The FBI declined to comment for this story. NBC News has reached out to the White House for comment.
Wray has defended the FBI against Trump’s attacks. In December, after Trump said the FBI’s reputation was in “tatters,” Wray pushed back publicly.
The trajectory of the president’s complaints is an open question, but if Trump’s tweets start to feature snide comments about Chris Wray, at least we’ll know why.