Direc­tor de­fends the FBI

Wray re­buts Trump’s at­tack, GOP al­le­ga­tions of po­lit­i­cal par­ti­san­ship

The Dallas Morning News - - Nation & World -

WASH­ING­TON — FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray de­fended his agents Thurs­day in a po­lit­i­cally charged hear­ing on Capi­tol Hill, re­but­ting Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ac­cu­sa­tion that the bureau was in “tat­ters” and fend­ing off at­tacks from Repub­li­cans on per­son­nel.

The un­usual scene — the na­tion’s top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial pressed by nor­mally def­er­en­tial Repub­li­can law­mak­ers — was a re­flec­tion of the ex­treme par­ti­san­ship that has taken hold in Wash­ing­ton.

Wray, who be­came direc­tor in Au­gust, re­mained un­flap­pable dur­ing his first ap­pear­ance be­fore the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee.

“There is no finer in­sti­tu­tion than the FBI and no finer peo­ple than the men and women who work there,” he said.

Wray was pressed by Repub­li­cans on the po­lit­i­cal lean­ings of FBI agents and Jus­tice Depart­ment pros­e­cu­tors. Law­mak­ers tried to cast doubt on the im­par­tial­ity of the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s spe­cial coun­sel, Robert Mueller, not­ing that pros­e­cu­tors on his team had do­nated to Democrats.

They also re­peat­edly brought up Peter Str­zok, an FBI agent who was re­moved from Mueller’s staff be­cause of po­ten­tially an­titrump text mes­sages he traded with another per­son on the team. Str­zok was also a key mem­ber of the FBI team that in­ves­ti­gated whether Hil­lary Clin­ton and her aides mis­han­dled clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion.

Wray said he was work­ing to en­sure that pol­i­tics stayed out of the FBI’S in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

“I am em­pha­siz­ing in ev­ery au­di­ence I can in­side the bureau that our de­ci­sions need to be made based on noth­ing other than the facts and the law and our rules and our pro­cesses and our core val­ues and not based on any po­lit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tions by any side of the aisle,” he said.

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