Director defends the FBI
Wray rebuts Trump’s attack, GOP allegations of political partisanship
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.