Christopher Wray faces a tough test four months into his leadership of the FBI: He must defend America’s top law enforcement agency against blistering attacks from President Trump without putting his own job at risk. The competing pressures Wray faces will be on display Thursday when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats may push him for a response to Mr. Trump’sand urging Wray to “clean house.”
Following Mr. Trump’s public lambasting of the bureau,amid concerns about morale.
Wray said he was, “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice demonstrated around the Bureau.” He told the staff, “It is truly an honor to represent you.”
He did not acknowledge the president’s criticism but he did write, “We find ourselves under the microscope each and every day — and rightfully so. We do hard work for a living. We are entrusted with protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution and laws of the United States. Because of the importance of our mission, we are also entrusted with great power, and we should expect — and welcome — people asking tough questions about how we use that power. That goes with this job and always has.”
Wray echoed that sentiment in his prepared remarks for Thursday’s hearing. “The strength of any organization is its people,” he’ll tell senators. “The threats we face as a nation are as great and diverse as they have ever been, and the expectations placed on the Bureau have never been higher.”
He adds, “Each FBI employee understands that, to defeat the key threats facing our nation, we must constantly strive to be more efficient, effective, and prescient. Just as our adversaries continue to evolve, so must the FBI. “
Wray on ousted FBI agent in Mueller investigation
At the outset of the hearing, Wray was asked aboutover allegations of anti-Trump text messages who was responsible for softening language about Secretary Hillary Clinton in the bureau’s investigation into her private email server.
Peter Strzok, who led the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, changed the language in former FBI Director James Comey’s description of how Clinton handled classified information, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.