FBI Director Christopher Wray defends agency after Trump's attacks

FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency Thursday in his first public appearance since President Donald Trum...

Posted: Dec 7, 2017 3:42 PM
Updated: Dec 7, 2017 3:42 PM

FBI Director Christopher Wray defended his agency Thursday in his first public appearance since President Donald Trump said the bureau is "in tatters."

Wray told the House Judiciary Committee his agents work hard "protecting the American people and upholding the rule of law in all 50 states and in about 80 countries around the world."

President Trump had tweeted that the FBI's reputation was "in tatters"

Wray said: "There is no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart."

"Let me start by saying that it is for me the honor of a lifetime to be here representing the men and women of the FBI," he said. "There is no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart."

When asked about Trump's tweets over the weekend criticizing the FBI, Wray told Rep. Jerry Nadler "there is no shortage of opinions out there."

"What I can tell you is that the FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China and North Korea, and Iran," he responded. "The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women who are working as hard as they can to keep people that they will never know safe from harm."

FBI employees will be held accountable if "appropriate," Wray added.

"When we make mistakes there are independent processes like that of the outside, independent inspector general that will drive and dive deep into the facts surrounding those mistakes," he said. "And when that independent fact finding is complete, we will hold our folks accountable if that is appropriate."

Trump on Sunday tweeted that the FBI's reputation was "in tatters" and the "worst in history," seizing on reports about possible bias from a former top bureau official.

Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R- Virginia, asked Wray about what he's doing to clear the ranks of the FBI by people "tainted" by bias.

He was referencing when special counsel Robert Mueller removed one of the FBI's top Russian counterintelligence experts from his team of investigators after an internal investigation found messages he sent that could be interpreted as showing political bias for Hillary Clinton and against Trump, according to US officials briefed on the matter.

Peter Strzok, who led the investigation of the Clinton email server as the No. 2 official in the FBI's counterintelligence division, left the Mueller team this past summer, multiple sources said.

"I think these matters are being looked at as they should be by somebody outside the FBI and when those findings come to me I will take appropriate action if necessary," Wray said, referencing the ongoing inspector general investigation. "The first thing I'm doing is respecting the outside independent investigations that are underway ... My preference is to be one of these people who is not an act first and ask questions later guy."

The hearing, a standard oversight appearance for the FBI director that was announced last week, has taken on new significance in recent days.

After Trump's tweets, Wray sent a message to employees Monday, telling staff that they should "expect -- and welcome -- people asking tough questions."

"We find ourselves under the microscope each and every day -- and rightfully so. We do hard work for a living," Wray said, not mentioning the President specifically.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318894

Reported Deaths: 5561
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion43391855
Lake27599462
Allen18363299
Elkhart17474226
St. Joseph17071234
Hamilton13376169
Vanderburgh9839121
Tippecanoe880629
Porter844886
Johnson6556169
Hendricks6267158
Vigo618187
Monroe542850
Clark522877
Madison5153122
Delaware5014103
LaPorte474695
Kosciusko468540
Howard357977
Warrick329872
Floyd324978
Bartholomew323563
Wayne318074
Marshall308146
Cass302631
Grant282050
Noble261546
Hancock260355
Henry252837
Boone248754
Dubois242931
Dearborn222631
Jackson222534
Morgan215543
Knox189720
Shelby189556
Gibson189426
Clinton182121
DeKalb181632
Lawrence179748
Adams171022
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Miami166614
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Putnam127828
White127522
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Randolph126121
Posey124116
Jefferson122916
Scott112320
Greene104653
Jay100713
Sullivan99216
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Fulton86419
Spencer8588
Perry83721
Fountain8078
Washington7837
Franklin71327
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Orange69028
Vermillion6444
Owen6317
Tipton58927
Parke5886
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Rush5658
Blackford54012
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Martin3645
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Warren2542
Ohio2337
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
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