Donald Trump is planning on immediately firing FBI Director Christopher Wray, and also intends to replace CIA director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper if he wins re-election next month, reports suggest.
Each of their names are reportedly listed atop the president's post-election 'execution list', which also includes a host of other senior officials, two White House sources told Axios.
Firing Wray, who has been in charge of the FBI since 2017, will reportedly be Trump's first course of action, followed by the ousting of Haspel from the CIA.
The two sources told Axios that both Wray and Haspel are almost unanimously 'despised and distrusted' by Trump's inner circle.
Trump reportedly would have fired them both already, one source said, had it not been for the looming November 3 election, and the political headaches that such motions can cause.
Donald Trump is planning on immediately firing FBI Director Christopher Wray (above) if he wins on November 3
He also also intends to replace CIA director Gina Haspel (left) and Defense Secretary Mark Esper (right) if he beats Joe Biden, Axios reported
The president's ire was apparently struck with Wray after he failed to launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and his business dealings in Ukraine.
Trump was also said to be left furious at his second FBI chief for failing to purge more officials that he believes abused their power to investigate his 2016 election campaign's alleged ties to Russia.
Additionally, Trump was reportedly aggrieved by testimony Wray offered to the Senate Homeland Security Committee last month, in which he stated the FBI has not seen widespread election fraud, including with mail-in ballots, contrary to Trump's repeated claims.
While Trump appears less than satisfied with Wray's FBI tenure, a senior FBI official told Axios that 'Major law enforcement associations representing current and former FBI agents as well as police and sheriff's departments across the country have consistently expressed their full support of Director Wray's leadership of the Bureau.'
As for Haspel, one source said the opinion among the West Wing is that she sees her job as 'manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field.'
Such an assessment has reportedly 'bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.'
Trump is also reportedly increasingly frustrated with Haspel for opposing Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe's declassification of documents to assist in a review of the Obama administration's handling of the Trump-Russia investigation.
But a source said Haspel may even step down from her post regardless of Trump's apparent looming dismissal, and regardless of the outcome of the election.
'Since the beginning of DNI's push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election,' a source told Axios.
The president's ire was apparently struck with Wray after he failed to launch a formal investigation into Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and his business dealings in Ukraine
As for Haspel, one source said the opinion among the West Wing is that she sees her job as 'manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field. Such a character assessment has reportedly 'bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.'
Esper, meanwhile, was said to have fallen from the president's favor over the summer when he rebuffed the idea of sending active-duty soldiers into the streets to combat racial injustice protests all over the country, spurred by the Memorial Day death of George Floyd.
The Defense secretary also reportedly aggravated the president when he sought to distance himself of any involvement in Trump's controversial Lafayette Square photo-op in June, showing him holding up a bible in front of St. John's Episcopal Church.
In the moments prior, law enforcement officers used tear gas and other riot control tactics to forcefully clear out protesters gathered on the square, and in the surrounding streets, so that Trump could walk from the White House to the church.
Esper also walked alongside the president, but later said he 'didn't know' where he was going and didn't intend to participate in the photo-op.
'I thought I was going to do two things: to see some damage and to talk to the troops,' Esper told NBC at the time.
'I didn't know where I was going,' he continued, adding he had 'no idea' about the plans to disperse protesters by force.
Speculation surrounding Esper's departure from the top Pentagon position was aired on the side of caution, with one source telling Axios that others who are gunning for the Defense Secretary job may be peddling the rumors.
However, another source, who's said to have mulled over potential candidates with Trump, confirmed his desire to fire Esper but said he urged the president to wait until after the election to do so.
In a statement, Chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said that Esper 'has always been and remains committed to doing what is best for the military and the Nation.'
Should Trump secure victory on November 3, such a win would likely encourage him to oust anyone he believes could provide a potential hindrance to the enactment of any of his desired policies.
He would also be emboldened to ax those who he sees as constraining him from going after perceived enemies.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order creating a new classification of 'policy-making' federal employees that could strip swaths of the federal workforce of civil service protections.
Critics blasted the order as an attempt to 'politicize the civil service', as it will now be easier for presidents to get rid of career government officials.
The numerous other senior officials reportedly named on Trump's hit-list are not immediately known, though shake-ups are expected in a number of other departments.
Trump has reportedly long been unimpressed with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and has also privately seethed about Attorney General William Barr, he's understood not to have made any formal plans to replace either of them, according to Axios.
Barr is said to have found himself in the president's bad books because he has refused to release what he hoped would be a bombshell report on the Obama administration's handling of the Trump-Russia probe before the election.
The report, conducted by U.S. Attorney John Durham, has reportedly, however, failed to yield any high-profile indictments of any Obama administration officials as Trump had hoped.
This is a developing story...