FBI director Christopher Wray is shown before speaking to reporters during a dedication ceremony for the new Atlanta Field Office building Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Atlanta, (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
As you may have heard, there was a minor industry created today around the rumor that FBI Director Christopher Wray might resign when the memo is released.
As near as I can tell, the story started, as does most really bad and unsourced reporting, with CNN. For most of the day their chyron was blaring that Wray was going to resign.
NEW: The WH is worried that FBI Director Chris Wray might resign if the memo is released. Kelly trying to find a compromise that keeps Wray happy: https://t.co/qznaWcyied via @DanaBashCNN @jeffzeleny @evanperez
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) February 1, 2018
It was picked up by the Daily Beast’s fabulist Spencer Ackerman. Ackerman’s story consists of a bunch of fat toads who are no longer in the FBI or anomymous sources allegedly within the FBI, who have no intention of leaving their job, encouraging Wray to quit.
Finally this happened.
BREAKING: FBI Director Chris Wray has no intention of quitting if controversial House Intel memo is released despite his objections, @PeteWilliamsNBC reports
— NBC Politics (@NBCPolitics) February 1, 2018
And now CNN has walked back their story
Wray has not directly threatened to resign after clashing with Trump over the possible release of the memo, the source added, because that is not his style of dealing with conflict.
Another person familiar with discussions about the memo said Wray didn’t threaten to quit when he met with Kelly earlier this week and in numerous conversations since, but White House chief of staff John Kelly believes that is a real possibility and has been working on a way to avoid another departure from an already turbulent Trump administration.
There is a recognition, however, that Wray leaving could set off a chain reaction of events inside the law enforcement agency. Top officials inside the bureau have been trying to identify who might be considered a “Trump guy” in the order of succession in the bureau’s organizational chart, another law enforcement official said.
There's half a day of CNN up in smoke… https://t.co/wle8ynwFMD
— David Marcus (@BlueBoxDave) February 1, 2018
Here are the basics.
A. There is no way in hell that Wray was going to resign in protest over having malfeasance or illegal activity exposed. That is not an honorable act and it would create a terrible narrative for the FBI.
B. Wray hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to care if he quits.
C. If he did resign, you can bet Trump would point an acting director who would arrive with a fully functioning chainsaw.
D. I suspect that about the time Wray told McCabe to pack his sh** and get off the battlefield he realized that he’s been suckered into supporting senior staff who are deeply and maybe criminally compromised. Wray may be angry about being ignored on the memo but he’s going to be furious about being set up for a public buggering.
Back in my younger days, I have to confess to haunting dive Irish bars and slipping a few dollars into the NORAID jar–to support widows and orphans and the families of internees, of course–and listening to rebel songs. One of them was the “Ballad of Jack Lynch.” The chorus goes, in part,
Let him go, let him tarry
Let him sink or let him swim
He doesn’t give a damn for us
Or we a damn for him
That’s where I am.
In the end, he’ll stay. But I could give a fat rat’s ass. The graveyard is full of indispensable men and the fact that Wray’s initial impulse was toward loyalty to the FBI and not loyalty to the law makes me think he is anything but indispensable.