Former FBI directors normally attend the installation of a new chief for the bureau. Washington is wondering whether ex-directors James Comey, who was fired by President Trump, and Robert Mueller, who is investigating the president, will make an appearance.
New FBI director Christopher Wray is planning for his installation ceremony next Thursday. By tradition, such events feature a speech from the president, and the FBI’s deputy director acts as master of ceremonies for a VIP audience including past directors. That could put President Trump on stage with Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — a man whose integrity the president has repeatedly publicly challenged – and speaking to a front-row audience that includes James Comey — the director he dismissed — and Robert Mueller — the special counsel investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice, reports the Washington Post.
It’s hard to imagine a more ill-suited guest list. Trump fired Comey in May, setting the stage for Mueller’s selection as special counsel probing possible coordination between Russia and Trump associates. The events that led up to Comey’s firing are being investigated by Mueller’s team to see if the president or anyone around him attempted to obstruct justice. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders suggested that the Justice Department should consider prosecuting Comey. Wray was formally sworn in August 2. Installation ceremonies are a Washington ritual, usually a feel-good moment to gather friends and family for glowing speeches designed to flatter the new boss and inspire the staff. It seems likely Comey will not attend next week. Another ex-director, William Webster, praised Wray and Comey. “I’m a good friend of Jim Comey’s and I think we all make mistakes,’’ Webster said. He thought Comey erred by arranging for details from a memo he wrote about the president to be shared with a reporter, and he thought Comey misjudged the consequences of his announcement that he would not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server as secretary of state. One definite attendee will be Attorney General Jeff Sessions.