Trump Didn’t Influence Decision to Keep FBI Headquarters in D.C., Watchdog Finds

FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that the FBI’s decision not to build a new headquarters outside of Washington D.C. was not impacted by improper pressure from then-President Trump. 

A report released Tuesday by the Office of the Inspector General found that a lack of funding, not political pressure, was the impetus for the decision.   

The investigation began four years ago after Democrats questioned why the bureau abruptly decided to abandon a plan to build a new headquarters in the suburbs. Some Democrats suggested Trump wanted the headquarters to stay in D.C. because he was worried a new hotel would be built at the current site, a few blocks away from Trump International Hotel. 

The current headquarters, a brutalist, concrete building just blocks from the White House, is too cramped and out-of-date for it roughly 5,500 employees. 

“With regard to possible influence by then President Trump or the White House, we found no evidence that the FBI’s decisions were based on improper considerations or motives,” the Justice Department inspector general wrote Tuesday. “Specifically, we found no evidence that, in making the decision to seek to have the new FBI headquarters remain at its current JEH site, Director Wray or others at the FBI considered the location of the then named Trump International Hotel or how then President Trump’s financial interests could be impacted by the decision.”

Under the Biden administration, the federal government is pursuing a site for the new headquarters in Maryland or Virginia. 

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