Super hard to believe…and that there is absolutely no muscle put into the election probe is beyond all of us, right?!
I subscribe to WSJ (when there are the super deals) and am putting their article into this response, because they have a paywall. However, they are speculating as well. The timing of this Electoral task force - started in January, 2018, and McCabe was fired in 3.16.18, with Christopher Wray taking over 6.18 it might seem that FBI was in a bit of turmoil too.
By Dustin Volz
July 14, 2018 10:00 a.m. ET
A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests.
Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed.
Mr. Tricoli, an 18-year veteran of the FBI who became a section chief of the bureau’s cyber division in December 2016, didn’t respond to requests for comment sent to his personal email and LinkedIn account. An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment on Mr. Tricoli’s status, saying the Bureau doesn’t discuss personnel matters.
The reason for Mr. Tricoli’s departure wasn’t clear. But it adds to questions among some tech companies and lawmakers about how much the administration, and the task force in particular, are doing to protect future elections from Russian meddling.
This comes as the potential threat from foreign interference was underscored by a new indictment Friday from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charging 12 Russians with a widespread conspiracy to steal thousands of emails from Democratic Party organizations and then ensure they became public in ways that would embarrass the Clinton campaign.
Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and author of a book about information wars on social media, said the Trump administration has shown little interest in addressing Russian meddling, leaving the FBI’s efforts to tackle foreign influence “reactive” instead of anticipatory.
The FBI, in a statement, said the task force has been forging ahead since it was created last year by Director Christopher Wray, though the Bureau declined to provide details.
“The FBI takes any effort to interfere with our democratic institutions extremely seriously,” it said. “For that reason, last year, Director Wray announced the Foreign Influence Task Force. Since its creation, the FITF has been an active, forward-looking task force.”
By bringing in representatives of FBI units and coordinating with state, federal and private organizations, the task force allows the Bureau “to share information and protect our democratic institutions from foreign influence,” the FBI said.
It wasn’t clear if a replacement for Mr. Tricoli has been selected. In January, Mr. Tricoli said publicly he was leading the task force alongside an unnamed counterpart in the FBI’s counterintelligence division.
Consider that Chris Wray’s role at the bureau was a tumultuous time at the FBI.
Is that the right kind of person to take on the most fraught job in Washington? If confirmed, Wray would become director at a tense time for the bureau. Trump has called the probe into possible collusion between his campaign and Russia “fake news” and “a witch hunt.” Critics say it’s anything but, while rank-and-file FBI agents are frustrated that their work is now perceived wrapped up in politics, not only because of the Russia investigation but also because of the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Then there are the usual stressors of serving as the nation’s top law enforcement official, overseeing some 35,000 employees and 50,000 investigations each year, most of which do not involve the 2016 election.
Despite his sterling reputation, Wray risks getting involved in the most intractable political fight in decades. “There’s an element of, Wow, what is he getting into?” says Jim Franco, a former college friend and roommate.
Or, as Roth puts it: “Would I do it [become FBI director]? Not at all. Would I recommend that anybody do it? No.”