- Thomson Reuters
- The association representing 14,000 rank-and-file FBI agents said Friday they will not allow “partisan politics” to distract from their mission.
- The statement follows the release of a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses of a former campaign associate of President Donald Trump.
- Trump has fiercely criticized the FBI and Justice Department, but sought to placate the FBI’s rank-and-file agents.
The FBI Agents Association, which represents thousands of current and former rank-and-file agents, said in a statement Friday they will not “allow partisan politics to distract us from our solemn commitment to our mission.”
The statement came shortly after the release of a controversial Republican memo alleging the FBI abused its authority when obtaining a surveillance warrant against a former campaign associate of President Donald Trump.
“The men and women of the FBI put their lives on the line every day in the fight against terrorists and criminals because of their dedication to our country and the Constitution,” Tom O’Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association, said in the statement. “The American people should know that they continue to be well-served by the world’s preeminent law enforcement agency.”
The FBI and Justice Department argued vehemently against releasing the memo, saying it would be “extraordinarily reckless” as the memo omitted crucial context. Democrats, too, feared that the memo’s release could undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Muller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Trump and his allies have doubled down in recent weeks on their criticisms of the FBI’s leadership, alleging corruption and political bias, but have sought to assuage the bureau’s rank-and-file agents.
“The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago,” Trump tweeted Friday morning, before the memo’s release.
“Rank & File are great people!” he added.
But the FBI Agents Association released a statement the night before voicing support for the bureau’s director, Christopher Wray, who has found himself increasingly at odds with the president.
“The FBI Agents Association appreciates FBI Director Chris Wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the FBI,” the statement read.