The Trump administration fired a few key individuals this week, and one of the most significant was a person you may never have heard of. One of the top officials at the FBI, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired and a replacement must take on the role. A colleague, though, has been covering the position since January.
McCabe was allegedly fired for not telling investigators about authorizing conversations between the FBI and a journalist about the Hillary Clinton server probe. McCabe has claimed he was fired to tarnish his reputation before becoming a witness for the Russia investigation.
Either way, far before he was fired Friday, he had stepped down from his actual duties because of months of attacks by Trump that have continued since he was fired. When McCabe took a step back from the position, Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich filled in as acting deputy director; he's been serving in that role ever since.
Bowdich may not be the ultimate replacement for McCabe, though. The position of deputy director is the highest in the FBI that is not appointed by the president. After James Comey was fired as FBI director, Trump was able to nominate the replacement, Christopher Wray. In this case, that is not the case — the FBI leadership, including Wray, will ultimately make that decision.
For now, Bowdich will have a lower profile in the role than McCabe did. Trump has not yet set Bowdich in his sights and continues to tweet out attacks on his predecessor.
Before stepping into the role, Bowdich worked as the associate deputy director. According to the Bureau, that means he oversaw "management of all FBI personnel, budget, administration, and infrastructure."
His position before that promotion was much more exciting, and is likely why he got the job. He was working in the Los Angeles field office for years, first as a special agent working on domestic and international and then working his way up to the field office's director.
Bowdich started his career in California working as a sniper and SWAT team operator for the FBI. He investigated violent crimes and gangs before moving onto the focus of terrorism. As he was promoted his work generally shifted towards desk jobs, and he hasn't worked in the field as an agent since 2014 when he was working on counterterrorism.
Before joining the FBI, Bowdich earned degrees at New Mexico State and Georgetown and worked as a police office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Law enforcement is in his family; his dad was a sheriff in the Bernalillo County, New Mexico.
If Bowdich must make decisions with regards to the Russia investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Trump should be worried. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bowdich commented on investigating crimes committed by politicians — although the context is political corruption, not manipulating an election.
He told the LA Times:
As to political corruption, the message sent by the prosecutions should be encouraging to taxpayers. We have a lot of good politicians. When we have allegations of a bad apple, we'll go after that extremely aggressively. That's what makes our government different from so many others.
The likelihood of Bowdich having a major say in the investigation is unlikely. Mueller runs it independently and only Rod Rosenstein can fire him. Newsweek did report that Bowdich could potentially be a witness in the investigation. McCabe has said that's the reason Trump has gone after him.
If Bowdich continues in the role, he will hope for a better outcome than McCabe — the former deputy director was fired just days before he was to become eligible for his pension.