Aggregated From: Daily Kos
GSA head may have 'misled' Congress about White House involvement in plan to shrink FBI headquarters
Nobody could ever accuse the General Services Administration, the government agency charged with such boring federal details as leasing buildings and purchasing needed Stuff, of being part of a Trump-resisting deep state. Their sole notable claim to fame during these Trump years has, so far, been the rather incredible assertion that despite the government lease on the Old Post Office building, now a high-priced Trump hotel, explicitly forbidding any U.S. elected official from being a part of or benefiting from the lease Donald Trump isn’t in flagrant violation of those terms because Trump transferred day-to-day hotel operating decisions to his favorite son Uday and so, meh, close enough.
Now the GSA is in the middle of another odd little oopsie involving Trump; the agency’s inspector general has written up a new not-yet-finalized report concluding that Administrator Emily Murphy may have misled Congress in denying White House involvement in a new scheme to shrink the FBI’s headquarters and move parts of it to Alabama, West Virginia, and Idaho. (This is for budgetary reasons, of course, and surely has nothing to do with the Trump administration’s obsessive attacks on the integrity of the FBI or Trump’s open efforts to shutter FBI investigations into his own actions.)
Because the White House was involved, you see. And Murphy indeed had spoken to them.
But by that time, Murphy had discussed the FBI project with President Trump, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, senior White House adviser Jared Kushner and other White House officials, according a person close to the GSA who was familiar with the discussions.
The Washington Post also notes that she’s not the first GSA official to have misled Congress on this exact point: Public Building Services head Daniel Mathews had to revise his own testimony to acknowledge that he indeed had attended multiple White House meetings referencing the project despite his initial public assertion to the contrary.
It’s unclear if this represents a new scandal or just some Damn Odd behavior. Nobody seems to be giving much thought to the possibility that the White House is invested in moving large parts of the FBI out of Washington for not-entirely pure reasons; it’s just that real estate in West Virginia is cheaper to come by, you see. It just makes good financial sense, sez folks like … White House adviser Jared Kushner.
Maybe it does make financial sense, or maybe it doesn’t. (The upcoming inspector general’s report will apparently have a few things to say about that, as well.) But it’s at least a little curious that GSA officials appear to have gone to some effort to hide White House involvement in those plans. Why would that be? Why would the GSA even bother?