The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, told his top agents from around the country that he had been asked by President Trump to stay on the job running the federal government’s top law enforcement agency, The New York Times reports, according to people familiar with the matter.
The political fallout from this decision will make the news cycle buzz today, since Hillary Clinton, the mainstream media, and many Democrats blame Mr. Comey for her defeat, and it is not clear whether she would have kept him on had she won.
but a decision to retain Mr. Comey would spare the president another potentially bruising confirmation battle. As The New York Times adds, it also would keep Mr. Comey at the center of the F.B.I.’s investigation into several Trump associates and their potential ties with the Russian government.
Retaining Mr. Comey could also help calm the bureau’s work force, which has been rattled after a tumultuous few months in which the F.B.I. and the director himself were sharply criticized for moves that many felt influenced the outcome of the presidential election.
During the campaign, Mr. Trump harshly criticized the F.B.I. and Justice Department for not bringing criminal charges against Hillary Clinton in connection with her use of a personal email server. After Mr. Trump was elected in November, he said in a nationally televised interview that he had not made up his mind about whether he would ask Mr. Comey to resign.
When Mr. Comey and the president-elect met in Trump Tower for the first time earlier this month for an intelligence briefing, Mr. Trump told the F.B.I. director that he hoped he would remain in his position, according to people briefed on the matter. And Mr. Trump’s aides have made it clear to Mr. Comey that the president does not plan to ask him to leave, these people said.
Those who described the plans for the F.B.I. director spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing confidential conversations between Mr. Trump, his aides and Mr. Comey.
We await confirmation – or denial – from The White House. Representatives for the F.B.I. and White House declined to comment.
Mr. Comey will have to manage an increasingly difficult relationship with Mr. Trump and his White House, as the F.B.I. is leading an investigation into ties between Mr. Trump’s associates — including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort — and the Russian government. As part of that inquiry, agents have examined intercepted communications and financial transactions. Mr. Comey has repeatedly declined to discuss the investigation with members of Congress.