It's not often that you hear members of the FBI threatening to go to war with the president. But that's where we are after Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey.
"[Trump] essentially declared war on a lot of people at the FBI," an anonymous FBI official
There's every reason to believe that the FBI is as angry as this official says. Interim FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday told Congress that "the vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey." Reports from inside the bureau suggest horror and rage after the firing; one agent told the Daily Beast that "everyone feels like there has been a death in the family."
@Phil_Mattingly: McCabe blows up central WH talking point/rationale: "The vast majority of employees enjoyed a deep, positive connection to Director Comey."
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The FBI values its independence from the political branches above all else, an independence directly threatened by Trump firing Comey in retaliation for the Russia investigation. Historically, the bureau has been willing to fight — and fight dirty — to stay independent.
"The FBI is a tribal organization," Ben Wittes, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, tells me. "You screw with the FBI, you screw with the institution of the FBI, and ... a lot of people are gonna be angry."
So let's say that the official's comments to the Washington Post are right: that we're about to see elements of the FBI launch a full-scale offensive against Trump in retaliation for the Comey firing.