President Trump allegedly plans to remove FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and other senior officials should he be elected to a second term, according to two White House sources.
Wray would reportedly be the first person on the president's list to be fired. Trump has expressed frustration that Wray has not launched criminal investigations into Hunter Biden and his foreign business dealings. The president has also criticized Wray for not rooting out more of the internal corruption at the FBI that led to the botched investigation into the allegations that Trump colluded with Russia in the 2016 election.
The president has apparently been eager to replace Wray, but advisers have "consistently" told him to "wait after the election." A senior FBI official has also indicated that Wray has the "full support" of "major law enforcement associations" and local police departments – key groups the president does not want to alienate before the election.
Esper has also drawn the ire of the president due to his denouncement of Trump's idea to use the Insurrection Act to send active-duty soldiers to counter violent protests and riots.
"The option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations," Esper said in June. "We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act."
Since making the comment, Esper has not held further press conferences.
Haspel's fate is not as clear. One administration official said that both Haspel, like Wray, is distrusted within the administration, but another senior official indicated this is false.
"Haspel isn't going anywhere, " said the latter official. "POTUS has a good relationship with her."
Other senior officials are also reportedly on the chopping block. Trump is particularly frustrated with Attorney General William Barr due to his announcement that he will not report the results of the long-waited investigation into the Russia collusion probe before the election.
The president's team is also becoming more active in rooting out "Never-Trumpers" and other anti-Trump government personnel in agencies across the federal government. Last week, the president signed an executive order that would assist in this measure by making it easier to remove unelected bureaucrats from their positions and hold them accountable for the policies they enact.