During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, FBI Director Christopher Wray repeatedly deflected Republican lawmakers’ questions and refused to take responsibility for the partisan mess his agency has become.
In his opening statement, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been one of the most vocal critics of the FBI in recent weeks, said that recent reports have put the agency’s reputation “on the line.”
“Director Wray, simply put, the FBI’s credibility is on the line, as are principles that helped found and sustain our great nation,” Grassley said.
Last month, Grassley sent a letter to Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland alleging that the FBI and Justice Department have become “institutionally corrupted to their very core.” The letter cited multiple whistleblowers who told how FBI officials had discredited evidence against Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden’s son, in order to sabotage the ongoing investigation into him.
When Grassley asked Wray what the FBI is doing to address how “politicized” its operations have become — and why the agency excluded such concerns from “this year’s final report” — Wray refused to give the senator a straight answer.
“I think you’ve answered the process,” Grassley said after the director’s deflection. “But you haven’t answered this specific thing about why that information was taken out of the report.”
“Yeah, I don’t, I’m not familiar with that… Let me see if there’s something we can share with you on that,” Wray finally managed.
Sen. @JohnCornyn: "Is the border secure?"
FBI Director Chris Wray: "Boy, I am hesitant to substitute my judgement for the Secretary of Homeland Security."
— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2022
Republican lawmakers also pressed the FBI director on the state of the U.S.-Mexico border, and whether border concerns might be to blame for the rise in violent crime across the country. When Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked him whether he thought the border was secure, however, Wray was back to his deflection strategy.
“Well, boy, I — I guess I’m hesitant to substitute my judgment for the Secretary of Homeland Security,” Wray initially answered.
When Cornyn pressed him again, Wray admitted that the southern border “presents significant security issues.”
“There’s a wide array of criminal threats down at the border,” Wray said. “You mentioned a little bit in some of your questions, the transnational criminal organizations that use diverse and complex methods to traffick drugs, that then cascades over into prison and street gangs who distribute it.”