Trump’s Handpicked FBI Director Is Basically Saying the GOP’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory Is Bullshit

A remarkable public spat has broken out between President Trump, Attorney General William Barr and the director of the FBI.
December 10, 2019, 6:47pm
FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Washington.

President Donald Trump is just a few steps away from labeling his handpicked FBI director as the boss of a Deep State cabal undermining his administration.

The tweeter-in-chief blasted Christopher Wray Tuesday after the nation’s top cop gave a positive assessment of a new report saying the FBI had good reason to probe possible collusion between Trump and Russia in 2016.

“I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me,” Trump

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ranted on Twitter.

"With that kind of attitude, he will never be able to fix the FBI, which is badly broken despite having some of the greatest men& women working there!"

The public shit-talking of the “current” FBI director underscores growing tension between a conspiratorial president and a bureau that isn’t sufficiently hungry for “Deep State” plots against him. GOP lawmakers and right-wing media have similarly thrown their weight behind the stories, which have combined the Russia probe with unproven claims of Ukrainian election meddling into a mushy narrative about a coup.

Wray took a veiled shot at that notion in an interview with ABC News on Monday night, basically telling Americans to stop reading trash news.

“I think it’s important for the American people to be thoughtful consumers of information and to think about the sources of it and to think about the support and predication for what they hear,” Wray said.

Former FBI honcho James Comey and former Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have been thrust into the center of this fake-news milieu, which has enveloped both career bureaucrats and the president’s own political appointees. The president’s outburst Tuesday suggests it could now be Wray’s turn in the barrel.

Released Monday, a long-awaited report by the Justice Department’s inspector general did find that the FBI erred in its applications to monitor Trump aide Carter Page. But it also argued that federal investigators launched the inquiry without political bias, contradicting a frequent GOP talking point.

While Wray nodded to the missteps in the process on Monday night, he highlighted that the FBI acted legally. He also took a veiled shot at the notion of a shadowy alliance among Democrats, the mainstream media, and the Deep State.

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“That’s not a term that I would ever use to describe our workforce,” Wray told ABC News. “And I think that’s an affront to them.”

That interpretation may put him at odds with his boss, Attorney General William Barr, who told NBC News on Tuesday that the Trump campaign “was clearly spied upon.”

The dueling takeaways add yet another layer to the supposed Deep State plot that has become central to Trump allies’ impeachment defense. Right-wing media figures like Fox News host Sean Hannity have been obsessively counterprogramming the congressional inquiry with what they see as the real scandal: supposed Ukrainian interference to take down Trump in 2016.

But those allegations largely amount to a critical op-ed written by a Ukrainian politician and on-and-off work by a single Democratic consultant, Alexandra Chalupa. Witnesses from the State Department even warned Congress last month that sharing the allegations effectively amplified Russian disinformation.

Wray likewise threw cold water on that idea on Monday night. “We have no information that indicates that Ukraine interfered with the 2016 presidential election,” he said.

At no point did Wray mention Trump, perhaps the world’s most powerful distributor of such misinformation, by name. But deep within the right-wing fever swamps, the comments showed that Wray lacks blind loyalty to the president.

At The Gateway Pundit, a conspiratorial pro-Trump site, Jim Hoft called the Trump nominee a “lying swamp creature” Tuesday morning.

“Christopher Wray is a card carrying member of the Deep State,” Hoft wrote, mentioning him alongside Comey and Mueller. “This gang attempted a coup of the US government.”

Cover: FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during an interview with The Associated Press, Monday, Dec. 9, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)