An inspector general’s report expected Monday is likely to say the FBI was legally justified in pursuing surveillance warrants in 2016 against a foreign-policy adviser in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, but will also cite FBI errors, the Associated Press reports..
The report may tests efforts by director Christopher Wray to keep the bureau out of politics.
Since Christopher Wray was appointed FBI director in 2017, he has tried to move the bureau past controversies stemming from the 2016 election. A Justice Department inspector general’s report due Monday is expected to highlight just how complicated that job is turning out to be, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The report also is expected to detail many shortcomings in how the bureau conducted the investigation, including errors in the handling of warrants.
Where former FBI director James Comey embraced a public persona, Wray maintains an unassuming and detail-oriented persona, bent on avoiding the spotlight and keeping the FBI out of the political fray as much as possible. Associates compare his style with that of Robert Mueller, who led the FBI from 2001 to 2013 with a trademark taciturn demeanor.
A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll showed the FBI is viewed positively by 48 percent of adults, a strong showing compared with other government institutions. Wray has pursued policy changes, including not running investigations out of the offices of senior leadership at FBI headquarters and reinstituting annual ethics training.
Some current and former officials wanted Wray to defend the FBI more publicly. People close to him said he recognizes that a strong pushback could imperil his job at a time when his goal is to steady the agency. Wray has shaken up the FBI’s top ranks and built his own team.
“He won’t let [Justice Department headquarters], the White House or Congress unduly interfere with its work. He’s there for the right reasons,” said Greg Brower, former head of the FBI’s office of congressional affairs.