Joe Biden has officially been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021.
WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden will keep Christopher Wray as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, White House officials said Thursday.
Wray, appointed by former President Donald Trump in 2017 after he fired James Comey, is in his fourth year of a 10-year term.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki had been noncommittal whether Biden – as widely expected – would keep Wray during her first news briefing Wednesday night. But in a tweet Thursday, Psaki confirmed those plans after reports from USA TODAY and others citing unnamed sources.
“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,” she tweeted.
Ahead of the presidential election, FBI agents in October voiced their support for Wray, warning Trump and Biden, then the Democratic nominee, that his untimely removal could “undermine stability” within the federal government’s premier law enforcement agency.
The unusual action by the FBI Agents Association, representing 14,000 active and retired agents, came as Trump was weighing a number of key staff changes after the election, including the dismissal of Wray.
“Unanticipated changes in bureau leadership are challenging and can undermine stability,” the association said in separate letters to the president and the Democratic nominee. “Right now, the FBI is confronting an even more daunting threat environment. … This country needs stability in leadership of the bureau during these challenging times.”
The association lauded Wray for leading the agency through the uncertainty that followed Comey’s dismissal, crediting the former Justice Department official with adhering to an nonpartisan, independent brand of leadership.
“He has not led the bureau in a political manner, and politics should not determine his fate as director,” the association said.
Wray, a former Justice Department official in President George W. Bush’s administration, drew much criticism from Trump as FBI director.
In September, Wray drew Trump’s ire for his testimony during congressional hearings when he highlighted the conclusions of intelligence officials who warned that Russia was actively attempting to denigrate Biden’s candidacy.
In 2019, Trump rebuked Wray following the release of a Justice Department inspector general’s report highly critical of the FBI work in the Russia investigation that shadowed much of Trump’s presidency.
Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.
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