To say that the relationship between the FBI and President Trump’s administration is strained would be quite the understatement. Between Trump’s firing of then-agency director James Comey, he and his allies’ since-disproven belief that the bureau was housing a far-ranging conspiracy against the White House, and Rep. Devin Nunes’ declassified memo, there’s a lot to digest regarding these strenuous ties. Hence why, in an interview with the conservative outlet Washington Examiner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he thinks the FBI ought to have a “fresh start.”
Per CNN, Sessions made this particular comment to the Examiner the day it was revealed that Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — who acted as director following Comey’s firing and was reportedly asked about his voting habits by Trump at the time — was leaving the bureau. When prompted about the McCabe news, the Examiner notes that Sessions’ response “was measured”:
“Well, I have believed it was important to have a fresh start at the FBI, and actually, it was in my letter to the president when I recommended Comey’s removal. I used the words, ‘fresh start,’ and the FBI director is Chris Wray, a very talented, smart, capable leader.
“I think it will give them an opportunity to go straight to the American people and say, ‘we are gonna win your confidence,'” he said.
CNN reports that Sessions added, “Whether we like it or not, there’s been erosion” of confidence from the American people regarding the FBI and Justice Department. He also made that statement while urging the agencies to be “not political,” which is a strange remark, considering that House Republicans and Trump have been at the forefront of attacking the FBI’s integrity.
Considering Trump’s current posturing on all things FBI, let alone the Justice Department as a whole, precisely what kind of “fresh start” Sessions is alluding to here remains a mystery. After all, the president is too busy considering his options for handling Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.