National Security

Trump has list of top intelligence officials he’ll fire if he wins reelection: report

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President Trump plans to fire several top officials in the national security sphere should he win reelection in November, Axios reported Sunday.

The president plans to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray, two people familiar with his decisionmaking told the news outlet. White House officials declined to comment on personnel matters.

“We have no personnel announcements at this time nor would it be appropriate to speculate about changes after the election or in a 2nd term,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told Axios.

One source close to Haspel added that the CIA director is considering leaving on her own, telling Axios, “Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election.”

A CIA spokesman told The Hill that “Director Haspel continues to proudly serve at CIA, and we’ll leave the election season speculation to others” in an emailed statement.

News of Trump’s latest possible targets for firing comes just days after The Washington Post reported that the president had recently discussed firing Wray in conversations with White House advisers.

The Post reported last week that the president has grown incensed with Wray in recent weeks due to the FBI director’s refusal to open a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden, a late-in-the-game announcement that would likely upend the presidential race.

Many election analysts have pointed to the decision of former FBI Director James Comey to reopen the investigation into 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private email server used during her time as secretary of State as a key reason for her defeat that year.

Deere told the Post last week that “if the president doesn’t have confidence in someone he will let you know” and added that the White House does not speculate on personnel matters.

Updated at 12:25 a.m. with a statement from the CIA.

Tags Christopher Wray Donald Trump Gina Haspel Hillary Clinton James Comey Judd Deere Mark Esper
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