Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida has been searched by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), reported The Washington Post. Trump says that Democrats are using the justice system as a weapon against him. FBI directors are appointed by the U.S. president, and Trump appointed the current FBI director, Christopher Wray.
Trump appointed Wray after dismissing former FBI director James Comey in 2017. The FBI website indicates that the FBI director is first appointed by the sitting U.S. president, then confirmed by the Senate. The length of term for FBI directors is 10 years.
Former president Donald Trump appointed Christopher Wray as head of the FBI.
As many leaders in Washington are appointed by a sitting president and replaced when a new one comes into office, some may wonder if that’s the case with FBI directors. However, FBI directors aren't necessarily replaced by each new president. President Biden didn't appoint the current FBI director.
Trump dismissed Comey from the position on May 9, 2017, in the midst of an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. During Wray’s confirmation hearing, when asked whether that investigation was, as Trump called it, a “witch hunt,” Wray disagreed.
Does the president control the FBI?
Although some believe that the president has control over all of his appointees, the president doesn't control the FBI or its investigations. The FBI is monitored by several entities.
Congress is in charge of reviewing budgets, programs, and selected FBI investigations. It has a number of oversight committed in both the Senate and House for these purposes. The Director of National Intelligence oversees FBI intelligence activities.
The judicial system also has a role in oversight of the FBI, as it may review the results of any FBI investigations during its court proceedings. The FBI also reports to the U.S. attorney general in the Department of Justice, and findings are also reported to attorneys general throughout the country.
Although the president doesn't technically control the FBI, the country’s chief executive may be able to fire the FBI director under some circumstances. Since 1968, the president has held the power to both appoint and fire the FBI director. Only two FBI directors have been fired by a president — Comey was removed by Trump in 2017, and William Sessions was removed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
The Post reported that Trump considered firing Wray as FBI director several times and that the two only interacted on a limited basis.
Christopher Wray pledged an “impartial pursuit of justice” during confirmation hearings.
During his confirmation hearing with Senators, Wray said he wasn't pledging loyalty to the president. As The New York Times reported in 2017, he stated, “I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.”
Wray also indicated that if the president were to request him to take illegal action, he would first “try to talk him out of it.” If unable to do so, Wray said he would resign from the position.