FBI Director Christopher Wray needs to go. He should resign or be fired. He was supposed to be the solution for the beleaguered bureau. Instead, he became the problem.
During his nearly three-year tenure at the helm of the FBI, Wray has consistently defied Congress by refusing to produce documents exposing the dishonest acts of his predecessor, James Comey, and his cadre of corrupt confederates. Even worse, Wray is to blame for suppressing evidence of innocence in the criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Under Wray, promises of transparency and reform proved to be nothing more than an illusion, replaced by a deliberate cover-up of FBI malfeasance in the Trump-Russia investigation.
Explosive new documents emerged last week showing how Comey, together with then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and senior counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, conjured up a pretense to interview Flynn on Jan. 24, 2017, in a plot to invent a crime they knew he did not commit.
There was no legitimate reason for agents to talk with Flynn. He had done nothing wrong in speaking with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition. Yet, armed with the conversations that had been secretly recorded, the FBI fabricated a reason to meet with Flynn, deceived him about their true intent, and set a trap to “get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.” This was unconscionable and, quite likely, illegal.
Getting rid of Flynn would achieve a dual purpose. First, it would eliminate the threat of an experienced intelligence official in the White House who would surely uncover the FBI’s scheme to falsely implicate Trump in a nonexistent “collusion” conspiracy with Russia. Second, it would badly damage the president a mere four days into his nascent administration.
The new documents show that Comey, McCabe and Strzok were desperate to neutralize Flynn. He had been investigated and surveilled by the FBI which, at one point, deployed a confidential human source (CHS) who was unable to dig up any dirt on the retired lieutenant general. Flynn was a patriot; not a Russian agent. “No derogatory information was identified,” stated one memorandum dated Jan. 4, 2017.
The bureau’s Washington field office decided to close their covert case against Flynn. But Strzok, at the behest of Comey and McCabe, put a stop to that. They resurrected an obscure and moribund 1799 law — the Logan Act — as a pretext to perpetuate their pursuit of Flynn even though they well knew that the act had no application or relevance.
All of this information was contained in documents concealed for years by Wray’s FBI but made public only last week after a suspicious Attorney General William Barr ordered a review of the Flynn matter. Under the law, such exculpatory evidence is required to be turned over to the defendant. A judicial order in the Flynn case also mandated it.
Instead, the material was hidden from Flynn and the American public. Both deserved the truth. The retired three-star general had been ruined financially and his reputation shattered. Under threat, he was coerced by special counsel Robert Mueller’s squad of partisan prosecutors into pleading guilty to a crime he did not commit — making a false statement. Mueller’s team knew all about the exculpatory documents, but they chose to bury them and persecute Flynn.
Records also show that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn on Jan. 24 concluded that he did not lie, although Strzok and his lover, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, substantially rewrote the original report in violation of agency protocols.
U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John Durham is reportedly examining the Machiavellian machinations of Comey and his minions in their disgraceful endeavor to destroy Flynn. It seems obvious that his constitutional rights were violated and justice was obstructed. Whether criminal charges will be brought is now up to Barr and Durham.
But Director Wray bears direct responsibility for failing to produce long ago all of this evidence of egregious misconduct. If he did not know about it, as he implausibly claims, then he’s incompetent. More likely, he knew but refused to do what his duty demanded.
In either case, he is not the person who should be leading the FBI. The bureau’s reputation was left in tatters by Comey, and Wray has done little to give Americans any confidence that the FBI can be trusted.
Wray’s record on this and other related matters is beyond abysmal. More than two years ago, the House Intelligence Committee under then-Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., requested these documents. So did Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, when he served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. They were told that the material did not exist. As Grassley recently noted, this was “obviously not true!”
At every turn, Wray has fought the release of innumerable classified documents that would reveal the plethora of shameless acts committed by the FBI during the Trump-Russia probe.
It was Wray who worked assiduously to prevent the release of the “Nunes Memo” that revealed rampant misdeeds, if not lawlessness, by the FBI. Wray opposed and delayed the damning FISA court opinion that criticized the FBI for deceiving judges in their unlawfully obtained warrants to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
Wray also suppressed evidence that the FBI knew ex-British spy Christopher Steele was a charlatan who composed a phony “dossier” of Russian disinformation that served as the premise for the FBI’s investigation of Trump. He went to court to oppose the publication of incriminating records. He all but argued that the bureau is above the law and answerable to no one.
Importantly, where was Wray when the last of the FISA warrants was sought based on representations that he had to have known were untruthful?
Wray has once again proved the adage that the cover-up is worse than the crime. It is clear that his only objective as director of the FBI is to hide evidence of wrongdoing while insisting that the bureau is incapable of lies and fraud. We now know better.
Americans are right to be fearful of the FBI. The agency’s chronic abuses of law and process, together with its thuggish tactics, present a frightening example of how power corrupts.
Director Wray had the opportunity to chart a new course for the FBI in the wake of the unscrupulous and unprincipled James Comey. The vast majority of the honest and honorable agents who populate the bureau deserved a new leader who cares about truth, fairness and justice. They got Christopher Wray instead.
Former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., was correct when he said on Sunday that America needs “an FBI that we can trust.” Sadly, that will never happen as long as the current director is in charge.
It is time for Wray to go —one way or another.