The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) inspector general concluded in a Tuesday report that Former President Donald Trump did not inappropriately exert pressure on where to construct the FBI headquarters to protect his hotel from competition.
The investigation started in June 2019 following certain lawmakers and the media voicing worries regarding Trump’s possible influence on the FBI’s sudden choice to abandon its plan to construct a $3 billion suburban campus in Maryland or Virginia for its 10,000 workers in 2017, according to the report. The closeness to his former hotel in Washington, D.C. led some lawmakers to question whether he aimed to obstruct the land’s use for a potential rival hotel project, but the report found no evidence of that. (RELATED: Trump Admits It Was ‘Probably’ A Mistake To Hire FBI Director Christopher Wray)
We did not find evidence of improper consideration or motive in the FBI’s 2018 recommendation to abandon a long-standing plan to build a new FBI Headquarters campus facility in Maryland or Virginia, and instead build a new Headquarters at the J. Edgar Hoover Building site.
— DOJ Inspector General (@JusticeOIG) October 24, 2023
Lawmakers “expressed concern about whether then President Trump opposed the FBI moving to the suburbs because the [J. Edgar Hoover] site would have been sold to a developer that could have potentially built a hotel to compete with a nearby hotel in which Trump had a financial interest at the time, the then-named Trump International Hotel,” DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote.
However, the decision was probably driven by financial and logistical concerns rather than a deliberate attempt by Trump to interfere to safeguard his hotel from potential competition, Horowitz’s report says.
“[FBI Director] Wray enumerated several factors that he and others at the FBI considered, including proximity to the FBI’s partners and cost,” Horowitz wrote in the report.
Multiple FBI officials, including Wray, informed the inspector general that they had the power to decide on the site for the new headquarters, according to the report.
“Wray said that he did not feel ‘pressured or bullied or browbeaten’ or ‘pushed’ by Trump in making the decision to recommend that FBI Headquarters remain at the JEH site,” Horowitz wrote. “Wray told us that his decision to recommend staying in the current location was not based on anything that Trump said or wanted.”
“We found no evidence that the FBI’s decision to seek to have its Headquarters remain in its current location was based on improper considerations or motives,” Horowitz concluded.
The FBI, DOJ and Trump campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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