Trump tried to install Devin Nunes lackey in top FBI job — until Bill Barr threat upended the scheme
Former president Donald Trump was fixated on firing the FBI director he appointed, Christopher Wray, but backed away from the brink of shaking up the bureau after then-attorney general William Barr threatened to quit rather than go along.
The twice-impeached one-term president got angry whenever Wray entered the news cycle, especially when he testified about the Russia investigation or knocked down Trump's lies about law enforcement or intelligence services, but he became fixated on ousting him in April 2020 -- when Barr was called to a White House meeting, reported Politico.
"What's this all about?" Barr asked, when he arrived in an empty Roosevelt Room before Trump loyalist John McEntee and counterintelligence head William Evanina arrived.
McEntee, head of the presidential personnel office, said they were waiting for others to arrive and looked at his phone, and an angry Barr barged into chief of staff Mark Meadows' office.
"What the f*ck is going on?" Barr said.
At the time, Politico reported, Trump intended to replace Wray with Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center and a 24-year FBI veteran, and elevate Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes who was involved in several shady episodes with the ex-president, to the bureau's deputy director.
"They were hoping it would be a fait accompli," said one former administration official, saying Trump and his advisers hoped Barr would simply sign off on the president's desired change.
Another former administration official said Trump wanted Evanina and Patel at the FBI because he considered them "trusted people," but Barr told Meadows and White House counsel Pat Cipollone that he could not stay on as attorney general if they were installed over his objection.
Cipollone, who said he had not known about the scheme, agreed with Barr, and the White House eventually backed down from the plan -- although Trump continued to seethe against Wray.
"When you thought it had finally quieted down, the next thing you know, he would want to do it again," said one former Trump official.
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