Justice Department’s inspector general will investigate canceled FBI relocation

The review looks to clarify the influence of President Trump, who has a hotel across the street from the J. Edgar Hoover building

Jul.July 06, 2019 11:00 AM
Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters at 900 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Credit: iStock)

Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters at 900 Pennsylvania Avenue NW (Credit: iStock)

A watchdog in the Justice Department is putting his nose to the ground after plans to move the FBI to the suburbs were canceled.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced, in a letter to Congress, his office will look into the FBI and the Justice Department for their roles in the decision to nix the relocation plan and, instead, renovate the existing FBI headquarters.

The investigation looks to clarify President Trump’s personal involvement. The site of the J. Edgar Hoover building is directly across Pennsylvania Avenue from a Trump International, and redevelopment of FBI HQ could have brought a new hotel and competition for the Trump property.

Democrats claim President Trump was looking out for his business instead of the FBI staff who contend the Hoover building is outdated and gradually falling apart. The president has retained ownership of his businesses while ceding responsibility for daily management to his adult sons.

Last year, the inspector general at the General Services Administration reported that officials from the GSA, FBI and White House held meetings in January 2017 to discuss plans for the FBI headquarters, and President Trump was personally involved in one of the meetings.

According to the GSA inspector general’s report, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy said the FBI decided to terminate the relocation plan and to renovate the existing headquarters.

House of Representatives members Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Elijah Cummings of Maryland had called for further review after promoting locations in their respective states for a new FBI headquarters. [Wall Street Journal] – Mike Seemuth

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