FBI General Counsel Dana Boente is resigning amidst a recent resurgence in pressure from the Trump administration to remove him for his role in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Boente has served for 38 years in many different roles throughout the Department of Justice (DOJ). After serving as the US Attorney in Alexandria, Virginia, Boente briefly served as the acting attorney general in 2017 and was appointed as FBI general counsel in 2018.
In 2017 Boente replaced the previous attorney general Sally Yates who was fired by President Donald Trump after telling DOJ lawyers to not defend the president’s executive order on immigration and refugees. Recently he has faced criticism for his time as the acting attorney general, prominently, because he signed one of the reauthorizations to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page. An inspector general report last year investigated those reauthorization applications and found many inaccuracies as well as withheld information. However, they also did not find any intentional wrongdoing by Boente.
The story was initially broken by an NBC news article on Saturday, which alleged that the decision to dismiss Boente “came from high levels of the Justice Department rather than directly from FBI Director Christopher Wray.” They also tied this request to recent criticism from Fox news of Boente’s role in the Flynn investigation and allegations from them that he had withheld exculpatory evidence from that investigation.
The FBI confirmed on Saturday that Boente is resigning and will leave the agency officially on June 30. Wray has also confirmed that the process to hire a new general counsel has already begun.