President Trump plans to skip the installation ceremony Thursday for FBI Director Christopher Wray, the White House told Newsweek.
It is unclear why Trump is not attending. According to Newsweek, presidents typically attend the ceremony as do former FBI directors. President Obama attended and spoke at Comey’s installation ceremony in Oct., 2013.
The White House did not respond to The Daily Caller’s questions regarding whether the administration made the decision to avoid an awkward encounter with James Comey, Wray’s predecessor, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, or if the ceremony posed a scheduling conflict instead.
It is also not clear whether Comey and Mueller will attend the ceremony. Neither the FBI nor the office of the special counsel would tell Newsweek whether either former director plans to attend.
Trump has been critical of other government officials attending the event.
Trump has accused Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who will serve as master of ceremonies at the event, of taking money from Hillary Clinton and her allies for his wife’s political campaign. McCabe’s wife received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from political committees controlled by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe has reportedly been investigated over campaign contributions he received from a Chinese billionaire.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is expected to speak at Wray’s installation ceremony, according to Newsweek. The former Alabama senator has also been the target of Trump’s ire for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. That recusal, in addition to Comey’s firing, paved the way for the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
Since firing Comey on May 9, Trump has accused the Obama appointee of being a “leaker” of sensitive government information. After being fired, Comey gave a friend of his memos that he wrote after meetings with Trump.
Trump has been less aggressive in public towards Mueller, though in private, the Republican has reportedly discussed the possibility of removing the former FBI director, who served from 2001 to 2013. Mueller is conducting a sprawling investigation, including into Russia’s covert activities during the presidential campaign as well as the business activities of former Trump associates like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn.
Mueller also appears to be looking into whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey.
The White House has not responded to The Daily Caller for further comment.