In recent months, the former president has asked close advisers, including at least one of his personal attorneys, if “we know” all the names of senior FBI agents and Justice Department personnel who have worked on the federal probes into him. That’s according to two sources with direct knowledge of the matter and another person briefed on it.
The former president has then privately discussed that should he return to the White House, it is imperative his new Department of Justice “quickly” and “immediately” purge the FBI and DOJ’s ranks of these officials and agents who’ve led the Trump-related criminal investigations, the sources recount. The ex-president has of course dubbed all such probes as illegitimate “witch hunts,” and is now campaigning for the White House on a platform of “retribution” and cleaning house.
Separately, the twice-impeached former president has been saying for many months that on “day one” of his potential second term, he wants FBI director Christopher Wray “out” of the bureau, according to another source familiar with the matter and two people close to Trump. It’s an ironic turn, given that Trump appointed Wray in 2017.
(Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s 2024 primary rival, has also pledged to fire Wray, telling Fox News last week that he’d do so on “day one.”)
But in the years since, Trump came to deeply distrust Wray. By the end of 2020, Trump was venting to senior administration officials that he would make it a top priority to replace Wray “next year,” blasting the director for not wholesale purging the FBI of non-Trump-loyalists. Trump lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, and thus didn’t get his chance to fire Wray in 2021.
During some of the conversations this year, including at Trump’s Florida club Mar-a-Lago, some of Trump’s close political allies told him that they are working on figuring out the identities of the FBI and DOJ staff and forming lists, two of the sources relay to Rolling Stone.
The NYT did a 3-byline 1,700-word story describing how the number of minor Republican candidates joining the race serves Trump’s purpose.
Its analysis of the numbers and Ron DeSantis’ early failures isn’t bad. But because it is silent about how the expanding field might play in the likelihood of Trump indictments, it is entirely worthless.