Va., Md. senators press FBI on reversing plans to move headquarters

Plans had been under consideration to possibly move the FBI to either suburban Virginia or Maryland from their current location on Pennsylvania Avenue in D.C.. But they were dropped last year. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

WASHINGTON — Democratic senators from Virginia and Maryland have joined other lawmakers in seeking information from the FBI about any involvement President Donald Trump had in a decision to reverse plans for relocating FBI headquarters to the D.C. suburbs.

The request for additional information was made in a letter released Thursday that was sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray. It states that the lawmakers “have serious questions about the extent to which President Trump and the White House were involved in the abrupt decision to reverse course on plans for the FBI headquarters project, and whether that involvement was appropriate.”

The letter was signed by Maryland’s Democratic senators, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin; Virginia’s Democratic senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine; Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del.; and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I..

Carper is the top Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

The letter comes in the wake of a recent report by the General Services Administration Inspector General, which investigated a decision to develop a new plan to keep the FBI headquarters where it is on Pennsylvania Avenue. Critics say that e-mails and other documents indicate that Trump was more deeply involved in the decision than the administration has indicated.

Some lawmakers have also suggested that the president inserted himself in the decision-making process because Trump International Hotel is only a block away from the aging FBI headquarters.

“We want to know exactly what happened here,” Van Hollen said in an interview with WTOP. “Everything had been on track to relocate the FBI from its current headquarters.”

Plans had been under consideration to possibly move the FBI to either suburban Virginia or Maryland. But they were dropped last year.

“You saw this total reversal, without any explanation,” Van Hollen said, adding that he believes “the White House may have had its fingerprints all over this, including the president.”

The White House has denied Democrats’ criticism and indicated that the FBI leadership decided it didn’t want to move the law enforcement agency.


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