White House chief of staff slaps down FBI director

White House slaps down FBI director for dismissing Trump election fraud claims

It is the second major rebuke from the White House after the president hinted he was “looking at” replacing the head of the agency

Justin Vallejo
New York
Friday 25 September 2020 18:50
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The White House came down on the director of the FBI on Friday after he testified there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud in a major election.

In the Trump administration’s latest criticism of Christopher Wray, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said that the director may change his view if he got involved with the investigation of fraud allegations.

“With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI let alone figuring out whether there is any kind of voter fraud,” Mr Meadows said during an interview with CBS This Morning.

“This is a very different case,” he added. “The rules are being changed and so what I’m suggesting is, perhaps he can drill down on the investigation that just started, others that we’re seeing in North Carolina and other places where multiple ballots, duplicate ballots, are being sent out. Perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill.”

Mr Meadows comments were the second major rebuke from the White House in the past week after Donald Trump hinted he was “looking at a lot of different things” when asked if he was looking to replace the FBI director.

“I did not like his answers yesterday and I’m not sure he liked them either. I’m sure that he probably would agree with me,” Mr Trump said after Mr Wray comments on Russian election interference.

The latest criticism comes a day after Mr Wray's testimony before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee contradicted Donald Trump’s claims that widespread mail-in voting would result in widespread voter fraud.

“We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” Mr Wray testified.

Mail-in voting returned to focus this week after Mr Trump used the claim of ballot fraud when refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, saying he would only lose the election if there was ballot fraud.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany attempted to clarify the president’s comments on Thursday, saying he was responding to a question of whether he would accept a peaceful transfer of power “win, lose or draw”.

“I’m not entirely sure why he would accept a transfer a power, maybe that’s the deranged wish of that reporter but that’s not how governing works,” she said.

Mr Meadows repeated that sentiment on Friday, saying the president commits to a peaceful transfer as long as it’s a fair election, but saying the Department of Justice has begun an investigation into military found dumped in Pennsylvania.

We now know that we have a Department of Justice investigation in the ballots that were discarded from veterans in Pennsylvania. That’s very troubling.”

The Department of Justice and the FBI announced that investigation into nine mail-in ballots found discarded the key battleground state of Pennsylvania on Monday, seven of which were for Mr Trump while two were “unknown” as they were sealed.

The ballots were found in Luzerne County, which Trump won comfortably in 2016.

Mr Trump on Thursday referenced the inquiry, saying “they throw them out if they have the name “Trump” on it, I guess”.

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