The United States’ domestic intelligence and security organization, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is charged with safeguarding the homeland from both foreign and domestic adversaries. The relationship between the FBI and the White House was tense and fraught with controversy and accusations of political bias during Donald Trump’s presidency. The 2016 election probe, Trump’s criticism of the FBI, the impeachment investigation, and the Capitol riot probe are only some of the events that will be discussed in this article as defining moments in the relationship between the FBI and Trump.
Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Election
Trump’s disagreement with the FBI stems largely from the bureau’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The probe, which began in July 2016, looked at allegations that Trump campaign associates coordinated with Russian government officials to swing the election in the president’s favor. Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 for mishandling the investigation into Clinton’s email server. As a result of this action, Robert Mueller was named as the investigation’s special counsel.
Even though special counsel Robert Mueller’s March 2019 report found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, the president was not cleared of obstruction of justice. The president has called the inquiry a “witch hunt” and claimed the FBI is biased against him politically.
Trump’s Criticism of the FBI
The FBI and its leadership came under constant attack from Trump during his presidency. He said the agency had a personal vendetta against him and was working with the “deep state” to bring down his administration. He also said the FBI’s probe into his campaign’s suspected ties to Russia was an attempt to discredit him politically.
The FBI responded to Trump’s attacks by defending its operations and impartiality. Director of the FBI since 2017, Trump appointee Christopher Wray has frequently said the agency will adhere to the facts and the law regardless of political pressure.
The FBI started looking into Trump’s actions in Ukraine as part of the impeachment investigation in 2019. Investigators looked into whether Trump had used improper influence by demanding that the Ukrainian government look into Joe Biden, a political foe, in exchange for military aid. The FBI looked into allegations of criminal activity on Trump’s behalf in relation to his dealings with Ukraine.
Despite being exonerated by the Senate, Trump was impeached in December 2019 as a result of the investigation. Trump’s already tense relationship with the FBI was further deteriorated after his impeachment and eventual acquittal.
Capitol Riot Investigation
On January 6, 2021, a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and the FBI played a crucial part in the investigation that followed. Several rioters have been charged with offenses linked to the incident after the FBI assisted in identifying and arresting people involved in the violence.
Many, including those Republicans who had previously attacked the FBI, welcomed the agency’s assistance in the investigation of the violence in the Capitol. But some Trump backers said the FBI was part of a plot to frame the president and his followers.
There was tension, disagreement, and accusations of political prejudice between Trump and the FBI. Key developments in the relationship included the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, Trump’s criticism of the FBI, the impeachment inquiry, and the Capitol riot investigation. Although tensions ran high, the FBI was instrumental in the end result.
Throughout his presidency, Trump and the FBI had a tense and often contentious relationship. Key developments in the relationship included the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 election, Trump’s criticism of the FBI, the impeachment inquiry, and the Capitol riot investigation. The FBI’s role in defending the rule of law and investigating possible crimes committed by the President and his friends was significant, despite the fact that the relationship between the two was often tense.