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

The White House counsel’s office has advised President TrumpDonald TrumpSchumer: Impeachment trial will be quick, doesn't need a lot of witnesses Nurse to be tapped by Biden as acting surgeon general: report Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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 ComeyHawaii GOP official resigns over now-deleted tweet defending QAnon supporters Biden to keep Wray as FBI director Comey: 'Republican Party has to be burned to the ground' MORE, which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump 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 BarrPoll finds 1 in 3 believe false claims voter fraud led to Biden win Trump pressed DOJ to go to Supreme Court in bid to overturn election: report Budowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated 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 BidenBudowsky: A Biden-McConnell state of emergency summit DC might win US House vote if it tries Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman inks deal with IMG Models 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 WolfSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus ICE acting director resigns weeks after assuming post Ex-DHS chief says Trump bears some responsibility for Capitol riots: 'What he says matters' 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 EsperTrump administration official Norquist sworn in as acting Pentagon chief Watch Out: Progressives are eyeing the last slice of the budget Biden needs to fill the leadership gaps on Day One 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.