It looks like Christopher Wray, who was nominated by President Donald Trump to replace James Comey, will be confirmed as the new FBI director. Although currently in private practice, Wray used to be the assistant attorney general under former president George W. Bush.
That credential does not comfort former FBI special agent John Ligato, author of “The Near Enemy,” who told Chris Salcedo, “We don’t need another Justice Department attorney as the head of the FBI,” on today’s “Chris Salcedo Show.” He said the Bureau was always independent of the Department of Justice until about 20 years ago, when the two entities slowly started to merge.
In the old days, agents would pursue and investigate their own cases, then give a “prosecutive report” to the DOJ for further direction. Now the DOJ, which he sees as a more political entity than investigative, has to grant permission to pursue cases.
Ligato reported that this got worse under Comey, who “didn’t understand our culture.” He was surprised by his July 5, 2016, declaration that the FBI didn’t recommend charges against Hillary Clinton, who was investigated for improper use of private email servers for classified information. Ligato said the FBI doesn’t recommend charges: “We’re fact finders.”
He also said of Comey that any discussion with the president of the United States carries the assumption of executive privilege, and he wondered what the intent of memorializing conversations with Trump might have been. If Comey believed he was conducting an active investigation, sharing memos made in the course of that investigation meant he was sharing classified information, which is against FBI rules.