Prior to the Nov. 8 election, the FBI was, more or less, Trumpland. They wanted Trump to win. They neither trusted nor approved of Hillary Clinton. And that anti-Hillary attitude led to a number of anti-Hillary leaks to the press from the agency. They were angry with James Comey’s decision not to indict Hillary over her emails.
Now, though, the FBI is wracked with shock, anger and grief over Comey’s sudden firing. According to the Daily Beast, one agent said his abrupt dismissal was like a death in the family. Another said that they’re basically “sitting shiva,” which is a Jewish ritual of mourning just after a funeral.
And some of them are doing something very unusual for a situation like this: They’re posting pictures of themselves with Comey on social media, and even changing their profile pics to those of Comey. That’s a gesture generally reserved for someone who dies.
Acting Director Andrew McCabe told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Comey was well-liked and had broad support throughout the bureau. In other words, when Trump said that Comey had lost the trust and respect of his rank and file, he was either not speaking for the majority of the rank and file, or he was flat-out lying.
Rank-and-file agents were also very suspicious of the timing of Comey’s firing, wondering whether it had anything to do with the Russia probes. Various officials’ phones were ringing off the hook. FBI headquarters in D.C. was more or less locked down and not answering the flood of phone calls coming in.
One agent told the Daily Beast that there’s likely to be serious distrust of whoever Trump puts into Comey’s place:
“No matter who gets the job, there will be a cloud of suspicion because the President is unpopular with much of the [U.S.]. That bad faith will make it harder to do my job.”
Trump undermined the public’s trust in the FBI more than Comey ever could. The new director is going to face a tough confirmation, with much of the Senate viewing Trump with suspicion, too. That makes possible picks like Rudy Giuliani out of the question – he’s going to have to tread very carefully with Comey’s replacement. In the meantime, McCabe has assured the Senate that he’ll let them know immediately if the White House tries to interfere with the Russia probes in any way at all.
By Rika Christensen, Addicting Info
Featured image by Zach Gibson via Getty Images