President Donald Trump has frequently and openly speculated about firing FBI Director Christopher Wray after the election, but Wray continues to enjoy support from some GOP senators, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that controls the FBI budget, defended Wray this week, saying he “has professionally led the bureau through its complex missions to reduce violent crime, combat foreign threats and terrorism, preserve the integrity of the financial system, and protect our children from exploitation.” Trump has criticized Wray over issues ranging from Russia’s interference in U.S. elections and the threat posed by left-wing protesters to allegations of voter fraud.
Moran’s statement indicates that any effort by Trump to fire Wray could run into blowback from his own party. Moran said he would “continue to support (Wray’s) efforts.” Congress has been supportive of the bureau, increasing its budget by several hundred million dollars over the past two years. The FBI Agents Association, which represents active and retired agents, has asked both Trump and Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden to let Wray complete his term for “the stability, credibility, and integrity of the Bureau.” Republicans, led by Trump, have lambasted the FBI’s handling of the 2016 investigation into members of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and any links to Russia’s election interference efforts. The Justice Department inspector general found serious errors in the FBI’s pursuit of surveillance tools against one former Trump campaign adviser, but said the opening of the broader investigation was justified and that he didn’t find evidence political bias influenced the FBI’s decisions in the inquiry. Wray, who wasn’t director in 2016, has led the bureau as it grappled with that fallout.