White House counsel's office advised Trump against firing FBI director: report

The White House counsel’s office has advised President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE against firing FBI Director Christopher Wray, warning of potential legal consequences for the move, NBC News reported.

Administration lawyers reportedly told the president the move would make explicit that he expected the personal loyalty of anyone appointed to the position, adding that it could create a ripple effect similar to the 2017 dismissal of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records NYT publisher: DOJ phone records seizure a 'dangerous incursion' on press freedom Trump DOJ seized phone records of New York Times reporters MORE, which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE.

White House counsel Pat Cipollone and other White House attorneys have also told the president the firing would likely be viewed as retaliation for Wray’s failure to announce investigations the president has called for into his political enemies, according to NBC News.


The report comes after Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMedia leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of White House lawyer: report Pelosi: Trump DOJ seizure of House Democrats' data ' goes even beyond Richard Nixon' MORE resigned Monday, saying he would depart his position next week. Trump expressed his frustration with the attorney general for weeks over both his pushback on the president’s evidence-free claims of widespread voter fraud and his decision not to make public a federal probe into President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden prepares to confront Putin Ukrainian president thanks G-7 nations for statement of support Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting MORE’s son Hunter Biden before the election.

A senior administration official told NBC that, despite the advice, it remains a possibility that the president will fire Wray or other officials in the final weeks of his presidency.

“I wouldn’t take anything off the table in coming weeks,” the official said, adding that “some more fairly significant terminations in the national security or intelligence community” were likely between now and January.

The official said Trump has also considered dismissing acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfLawmakers slam DHS watchdog following report calling for 'multi-year transformation' Intel heads to resume worldwide threats hearing scrapped under Trump Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye passage of infrastructure bill; health experts warn of fourth coronavirus wave MORE, holding him responsible for former cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs declaring the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.” Trump fired Krebs soon after the remarks.

CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Biden announces veteran diplomat William Burns as nominee for CIA director Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community MORE, meanwhile, began removing personal items from her office after Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperCotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Navy denies NFL rookie Cameron Kinley's request to delay commission to play for Tampa Bay Overnight Defense: Pentagon keeps Trump-era ban on flying LGBT flags | NATO chief urges 'consequences' for Belarus MORE in November, according to NBC.

“If the president doesn’t have confidence in someone he will let you know,” White House spokesman Judd DeereJudd DeereHere's how presidents move into the White House in just hours on Inauguration Day Pence's relationship with Trump fractures in final days Trump stares down new impeachment threat MORE told NBC. “We have no personnel announcements at this time.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.