DOJ’s Inspector General to Investigate Dropped Plans to Move FBI Building to Suburbs
The Justice Department’s inspector general is opening an investigation of the FBI’s role in the 2017 reversal of a decision to move bureau headquarters from downtown D.C. to the suburbs of Washington, The Washington Post reports. The plans, reportedly a decade in the making, were canceled six months into the Trump administration in favor of building a smaller facility downtown and moving some staff elsewhere. Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been pressured by several congressional Democrats to investigate how the decision was made to keep using the J. Edgar Hoover Building. Some Democrats have accused the Trump administration of protecting the president’s financial interests—the Hoover building is located near his D.C. hotel, and the Post reported that Trump himself told its reporters he was considering bidding on the site before he ran for office. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy has downplayed the White House’s role in the decision, saying it was FBI Director Christopher Wray who requested the offices remain downtown if possible. Wray told Congress in April that he wanted to keep the offices downtown, saying: “It is absolutely the FBI’s view, the FBI’s choice, the FBI’s preference to build a new building... at our current location.” But a previous investigation led by the GSA’s IG found that Trump was “directly involved” in the project, participating in two meetings about the headquarters. Murphy did not mention these meetings in testimony to Congress at the time.