Delvin Barrett & Philip Rucker report for the Washington Post:
“FBI Director Christopher A. Wray has been resisting pressure from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to replace the bureau’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of criticism from President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.
The tension over McCabe and other high-level FBI officials who served during James B. Comey’s tenure has reached the White House, where counsel Donald McGahn has sought to mediate the issue, these people said.
As Sessions tried to push Wray to make personnel changes, Wray conveyed his frustration to the attorney general, these people said. Sessions then discussed the matter with McGahn, who advised him to ease off, which he did, these people said.
One person familiar with the discussions said Wray has not addressed FBI personnel matters with the president, but in December, after The Washington Post reported that McCabe planned to retire in Marchwhen he becomes eligible for his full pension benefits, Trump tweeted about his criticisms of McCabe, a target of his since the 2016 presidential campaign.
Much of the discussion between Wray and Sessions about housecleaning at the FBI also came in December, according to people familiar with the matter.Axios was first to report the Session-Wray dispute on Monday evening, indicating that Wray had threatened to resign if Sessions did not stop pressuring him to fire McCabe. But several people familiar with the dynamic told The Post that they were not aware of Wray making such an explicit threat. Firing McCabe could be problematic because he has limited civil service protections as a government employee. Such a move, in the aftermath of public criticism from the president and others, could prompt litigation.. . . .Sessions, Republican lawmakers and some members of the Trump administration have argued for weeks that Wray should conduct some kind of housecleaning by demoting or reassigning senior aides to his predecessor, Comey, according to people familiar with the matter. These people added that Sessions himself is under tremendous political pressure from conservative lawmakers and White House officials who have complained that the bureaucracy of federal law enforcement is biased against the president.”\