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Tag: christopher wray

Scalise Calls on FBI to Reevaluate Conclusion on 2017 Baseball Shooting Probe

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-L.A.

By Steve Neavling

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-L.A., joined more than a dozen other House Republicans demanding the FBI reevaluate its conclusion about the 2017 shooting that left him and others wounded at a congressional baseball team practice. 

The Republicans, who were on the field when gunman James Hodgkinson opened fire and struck four people, are questioning the FBI’s conclusion that the shooter was motivated by “suicide by cop.”

“We fear that the FBI’s inability or unwillingness to fully investigate this shooting as a matter of domestic extremism four years ago leaves a blind spot within the Bureau in fully assessing risks we face today,” the Republicans wrote in a letter Tuesday FBI Director Christopher Wray. 

Hodgkinson, who was fatally shot by police, had supported liberal causes. As the FBI investigates domestic extremism, the Republicans are pointing to violence from supporters on the left. 

“We all agree that violent extremism of any kind must be rooted out and addressed by our law enforcement agencies,” the letter states. “But we cannot presume to understand the scope of this issue if our law enforcement agencies do not investigate all instances of extremism, regardless of motivating ideology, with equal vigor.” 

Wray Appoints 2 Executive Assistant Directors to Oversee Vital Branches

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray appointed two executive assistant directors to vital positions in the bureau. 

Brian C. Turner was named executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch, where he will oversee criminal and cyber investigations worldwide. Turner had been serving as the assistant director of the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters. 

Turner joined the FBI in 2002 in the Philadelphia Field Office. 

Jill Sanborn was named executive assistant director of the National Security Branch, where she will help the FBI defend the U.S. and its interests from national security threats. Prior to the appointment, Sanborn was serving as the assistant director of Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. 

Sanborn’s FBI career began in 1998, when she was assigned to the Phoenix Field Office. 

FBI Director Warns Lawmakers about Dangers from Far-Right Extremists

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before a previous House Homeland Security Committee.

By Steve Neavling

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers on Thursday that right-wing militants and white supremacists are communicating with far-right activists overseas and have even traveled to Europe to meet with them. 

At a U.S. House Intelligence Committee hearing, Wray described the right-wing militants in the U.S. as domestic extremists who are reaching out to like-minded activists abroad and may even have trained with them, Reuters reports.

Wray said racially motivated extremists are the “actors with the most persistent and concerning transnational connections.”

Wray also told lawmakers that the bureau is on the lookout for new threats to the U.S. Capitol and state capitols following the deadly riot on Jan. 6 and that investigators are receiving “an avalanche of tips.”

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.