Former President Donald Trump did not interfere with the FBI’s headquarters relocation plans, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General. The investigation found no evidence that Trump influenced the decision to keep the FBI in downtown Washington instead of moving it to the suburbs. This contradicts long-standing accusations made by congressional Democrats, who claimed that Trump wanted to prevent competitors from building a hotel near his own Trump International Hotel.
The report also confirmed that FBI Director Christopher Wray independently made the decision to keep the headquarters in Washington, citing several factors such as its proximity to the Justice Department and White House, its security, and the expansion of the FBI’s site in Huntsville, Alabama. The report stated that Wray’s decision was not influenced by external pressure or influence.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 25, 2023
In 2018, House Democrats accused Trump of conflict of interest and accused him of preventing competitors from acquiring the land by scrapping the relocation plan. However, the inspector general’s report found no evidence to support these claims. Witnesses recalled a meeting between Trump and Wray in which the president asked for the director’s perspective on the relocation decision but did not express a strong opinion.
President Biden has since reversed Trump’s decision and requested funding from Congress to move the FBI to suburban Virginia or Maryland. The Biden administration cited the need for a modern and secure facility to support the bureau’s mission. The General Services Administration and the FBI are currently reviewing three sites for the new headquarters.
Some House Republicans threatened to block funding for the project, alleging politically motivated prosecutions of Trump by the Justice Department. However, this effort did not gain traction. With the recent leadership change in Congress, it remains uncertain whether such moves will be considered.