- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 8, 2020

President Trump on Thursday declined to say if he would fire FBI Director Christopher A. Wray after the election but called him “disappointing.”

Speaking with Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, Mr. Trump hardly offered a ringing endorsement of the FBI director he appointed in 2017. But he stopped short of saying he would ax Mr. Wray.

Mr. Trump‘s comments come after a series of public disputes between the two, including Mr. Wray questioning the legitimacy of the president’s voter fraud claims.

“I don’t want to say [whether Mr. Wray will be fired] yet,” Mr. Trump said in the interview. “He has been disappointing. He talks about, you know, even the voting thing that he doesn’t see the voting ballots as a problem. There are thousands of ballots right there. You pick up any paper in the country, practically, and they’re cheating all over the place on ballots. How is that not a problem?

“That’s a much bigger problem than China or Russia if you look at it,” Mr. Trump continued. “It’s a much bigger problem. So, you know, when you say that ‘Oh, I don’t see that as a problem,’ pick up the newspaper and read.”

The president has raised concerns about the integrity of the election, which is expected to involve the most-ever voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr. Trump has claimed mail voting will lead to widespread cheating.

While testifying before Congress last month, Mr. Wray contradicted Mr. Trump by saying voter fraud was “at the local level from time-to-time” and insisting it was not a widespread threat.

Instead, Mr. Wray told lawmakers that disinformation undermining the election results is the biggest threat to the election.

Mr. Wray‘s comments agitated some in the Trump administration, including White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who blasted the FBI director’s leadership.

Voting fraud allegations are not the only source of friction between Mr. Wray and the White House. Mr. Trump and his allies on the Hill have ramped up demands that Mr. Wray release sensitive FBI files they claim will show evidence of “spying’ on the president’s 2016 campaign.

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