FBI: Top Lawyer Leaving Bureau 05/31 09:33
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI's top lawyer, Dana Boente, who has spent nearly
40 years with the Justice Department but has been targeted for criticism over
the last year by some conservative commentators and supporters of President
Donald Trump for his role in the Russia investigation, is leaving the bureau.
Boente has most recently served as the FBI's general counsel but has held a
variety of roles in his 38-year Justice Department career, including acting
attorney general in the early days of the Trump administration, a United States
attorney in Virginia and the acting head of the department's national security
The FBI said that Boente had given notice on Friday that he intended to
retire effective June 30, the bureau said.
"Throughout his long and distinguished career as a public servant, Dana has
demonstrated a selfless determination to ensure that justice is always served
on behalf of our citizens," FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement
announcing Boente's departure. "We should all be grateful for his dedication to
the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the American people."
Boente became acting attorney general in early 2017 after Sally Yates, a
holdover from the Obama administration, was fired after refusing to defend the
president's travel ban, and remained in that role until Jeff Sessions was
As a top Justice Department official, he approved one of three applications
to renew secret surveillance warrants targeting former Trump campaign adviser
Carter Page. A Justice Department inspector general report from December said
those applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had
significant errors and omissions that cut against the FBI's premise that Page,
who was never charged with any wrongdoing, was an agent of a foreign power.
The report said that Boente and other Justice Department officials "did not
have accurate and complete information" from the FBI at the time they approved
Even so, Boente has nonetheless been criticized by conservative figures for
his involvement in the Russia probe.
A Facebook post in February from the conservative group Judicial Watch
announced that its president, Tom Fitton, would appear on Fox Business News
with host Lou Dobbs to discuss topics including "the discovery that the FBI's
Chief Legal Counsel, Dana Boente, participated in fraudulent FISA warrants on
In April, Dobbs himself alleged that Boente and Wray were blocking the
disclosure of "exculpatory" information about former Trump national security
adviser Michael Flynn. The FBI and Justice Department denied that that was the
NBC News first reported Boente's departure and said he had been asked to
resign by the Justice Department. Wray's statement made no mention of that. The
Justice Department declined to comment Saturday.