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Tag: christopher wray

Wray to Testify Before Senate Judiciary Committee about Capitol Attack, Domestic Extremists

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, and senators are expected to grill him about the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as the rising threat of domestic terrorism. 

The committee hearing marks his first testimony since the insurrection, which led to the deaths of at least five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.

The FBI has come under fire for missing warning signs before the riot. 

Since the attack, the FBI has arrested more than 280 people accused of participating in the attack. 

Wray also is expected to be asked about the rising threat from white nationalists and other violent domestic extremists. 

During Wray’s last testimony before a congressional committee in September, he spoke about domestic extremists. 

“Trends may shift, but the underlying drivers for domestic violent extremism – such as perceptions of government or law enforcement overreach, sociopolitical conditions, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and reactions to legislative actions – remain constant,” Wray said told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

‘Unintentional Ripple:’ Biden to Keep Wray, Says White House Press Secretary

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Let’s try that again. 

A day after the new White House press secretary told reporters she was unsure if President Biden had confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray, Jen Psaki circled back with an unequivocal response. 

“I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing,” Psaki wrote on Twitter on Thursday. 

Former President Trump appointed Wray to a 10-year term in 2017 after firing then-FBI Director James Comey, a move that prompted the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel. 

Wray and Trump had a rocky relationship because the FBI director refused to peddle unfounded claims about widespread fraud in the election. Wray also denied the Mueller probe was a “witch hunt,” as Trump often claimed. 

Biden has pledged to restore faith in the Justice Department’s independence. 

White House Lawyers Advise Trump Against Firing Wray

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The White House counsel’s office has “strongly” urged President Trump not to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray because of potential legal consequences, according to a new report.

While Trump has mulled for weeks whether to fire Wray, White House lawyers advised him against taking drastic actions because it could appear he is imposing a “loyalty test,” NBC reports.

The lawyers, including White House counsel Pat Cipollone, were worried that firing Wray could lead to the kind of legal issues that dogged Trump after he terminated then-FBI Director James Comey in 2017. 

They expressed concerns that the firing could be seen as retaliation because Wray didn’t launch investigations into the president’s political enemies. 

Although administration officials said Wray’s termination didn’t appear imminent, Trump has a habit of making decisions on a whim, and he’s expected to embark on a firing spree before his term expires next month. 

“I wouldn’t take anything off the table in coming weeks,” the senior administration official said, adding that he or she expects “some more fairly significant terminations in the national security or intelligence community.”

Biden Plans to Keep FBI Director Wray If Trump Doesn’t Fire Him First

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

President-elect Joe Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray at the helm of the FBI as long as President Trump doesn’t fire him first, The New York Times reports.

Wray was sworn in as FBI director on Sept. 28, 2017, more than four months after Trump nominated him to the position. With a 92-5 vote, the Senate confirmed the appointment on Aug. 1, 2017. 

FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms, but Trump has hinted he may fire Wray, who has contradicted the president’s baseless claims of election fraud.

Wray replaced FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump terminated in May 2017 after refusing to pledge loyalty to the president. 

In October, the FBI agents Association called on the next president to ensure Wray is able to finish his 10-year term for the “stability, credibility and integrity” of the bureau.

Wray Has Key Support, but His Job May Depend on Who Wins Presidential Election

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray’s job may hinge on who wins the presidential election, but one thing is certain: He has the support of some key Republicans and the FBI Agents Association. 

Sen. Jerry Moran, who chairs the appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FBI, told The Wall Street Journal that Wray “has professionally led the bureau through its complex missions to reduce violent crime, combat foreign threats and terrorism, preserve the integrity of the financial system, and protect our children from exploitation.”

Moran said he would “continue to support” Wray.

Trump has lambasted Wray, calling him “disappointing” in October for failing to cast doubt on the integrity of the election. Trump also said Wray should have opened an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Jim Biden’s family.

After firing FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, Trump announced the next month on Twitter that he was appointing Wray.

Congress also has shown support for the FBI by increasing its budget since Wray was appointed. 

In letters to Trump and Biden, the FBI Agents Association called on the next president to ensure Wray is able to finish his 10-year term for the “stability, credibility and integrity” of the bureau.

FBI Agents Association Urges Trump, Biden to Allow Wray to Finish 10-year Term

Christopher Wray is sworn in as the new FBI director. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) is calling on the next president to ensure Christopher Wray is able finish his 10-year term for the stability, credibility, and integrity” of the bureau.  

In letters to President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the group that represents more than 14,000 active and retired special agents says Wray “operates indepdently from partisan activities.”

“He has not led the Bureau in a political manner, and politics should not determine his fate as Director,” FBIAA President Brian O’Hare writes. “While the President can remove an FBI Director, doing so could lead to instability and damage to the Bureau’s operations, which is why Congress intended to insulate the position of Director from political whims.”

The letters come amid speculation that Trump, in the event that he wins reelection in November, plans to dump Wray. Trump has lashed out at his FBI director for failing to announce an investigation into Biden and his family’s business activities. 

The FBI has a tradition of not intervening in presidential races.

“Unanticipated changes in Bureau leadership are challenging and can undermine stability, making it more difficult to effectively protect our country,” O’Hare writes. “Right now, the FBI is confronting an even more daunting threat environment than in 2011—with threats from both domestic and foreign terrorists, espionage, cyber-attacks, and traditional crimes. This country needs stability in leadership of the Bureau during these challenging times, and creating upheavals at the Bureau after the elections can only undermine the goal of protecting the safety and security of our country.”   

Trump appointed Wray in 2017 after firing then-Director James Comey. 

“Director Wray has led the FBI through a complex period, and is ensuring that FBI Special Agents remain focused on fighting the criminals and terrorists who threaten our safety,” O’Hare writes. “No matter the outcome of next week’s election, the men and women of the FBI are urging whomever becomes our next President to allow Director Wray to lead the Bureau and serve our country.” 

Increasingly Desperate Trump Tells Aides He Wants to Fire Wray for Not Investigating Biden Family

FBI Director Christopher Wray in Atlanta. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

With less than two weeks before the election and trailing in the polls, President Trump is growing increasingly frustrated with FBI Director Christopher Wray for failing to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his family of corruption. 

Trump has repeatedly discussed canning Wray if reelected, The Washington Post reports, citing senior aides to the president. Trump wants an October surprise similar to the one that then-FBI Director James Comey delivered about Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The president has been pushing a dubious narrative that Biden and his family are corrupt because of widely disputed claims in a New York Post story. Trump has yet to indicate what crimes he believes Biden committed. 

Top Democrats are urging Wray to avoid launching a politically motivated investigation to influence the election. 

In a letter sent to Wray on Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., are urging Wray to “to resist pressure from President Trump and other partisan actors to take any actions intended to benefit President Trump politically on the eve of the election. Succumbing to such pressure would deeply undermine our national security interests and the credibility of law enforcement, and could have devastating consequences for the resiliency of our democracy.” 

“We are deeply concerned about the possibility that in response to these reports the Trump Administration will take actions before Election Day that would seek to damage the Democratic presidential candidate and undermine the rule of law,” Wyden and Schumer said.

Russia, Iran Trying to Influence Presidential Election with Voter Information, FBI Warns

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has warned that Russia and Iran have obtained voter information and are using it to sow division and chaos and undermine confidence in the upcoming election. 

The FBI Director Christopher Wray and National Security Director John Radcliffe said the two countries are trying to influence the presidential election. 

Iran has used the information to target American voters with emails demanding they vote for President Trump, the officials said, adding that there’s no evidence either country managed to alter election results or registration information.

“We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election,” Wray said during a news conference with Ratcliffe, The Washington Post reports. “When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we’re going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to quickly take appropriate action.”

Radcliffe said the voter data “can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”