FBI Director Chris Wray on Wednesday testified before the House Judiciary Committee, answering questions on a broad number of topics.
Since taking majority of the House in January Republicans in both chambers have been holding hearings into what House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH) has called “this weaponization of the DOJ against the American people.”
Some Republicans have suggested FBI headquarters be moved out of the Washington DC area while others have proposed withholding the salaries of some officials.
“I want to talk about the sheer breadth and impact of the work the FBI’s 38,000 employees are doing each and every day,” Wray told Jordan Wednesday, “because the work the men and women of the FBI do to protect the American people goes way beyond the one or two investigations that seem to capture all the headlines.”
Wray answered questions ranging from FISA concerns to extremism to the search for classified documents at former President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence to the January 6 insurrection to President Biden’s son, Hunter.
“Are you protecting the Bidens?” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) asked Wray, remarking that the FBI director seemed “almost suspiciously uncurious” about what the Congressman called “the Biden shakedown regime,” which Gaetz related to an alleged WhatsApp message of Hunter Biden invoking his father’s name and demanding payment from a Chinese business associate.
“Absolutely not,” Wray responded.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) asked the FBI Director whether there were undercover agents amid the crowd on January 6, 2021 that had broken off into a deadly mob of rioters bent on stopping Congress from certifying the 2020 Presidential election.
“As I sit here right now I do not believe there were undercover agents on scene—FBI agents,” Wray responded. When Biggs expressed incredulity at his answer, Wray added, “There are court filings that I think can speak to this which I’m happy to make sure you get.”
Wray received a much friendlier line of questioning from Ranking Member Jerry Nadler (D-NY) who asked about the August 8 FBI search of Mar-a-Lago.
“I would not call it a ‘raid,’ I would call it the execution of a lawful search warrant,” Wray asserted, adding that the case team followed “standard procedure.”
Nadler asked if the FBI had taken action so as not to attract attention, such as choosing a day when Trump would not be present in the residence.
Wray replied that they had, also noting, “Among other things, we did not have people coming in so-called ‘raid jackets,’ which is often something you would see.”
House Judiciary Committee hearing was Wray’s first congressional testimony since Trump pleaded not guilty to 37 criminal counts brought by a Florida grand jury in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s classified documents investigation. It was also Wray’s first since Hunter Biden struck a plea deal with a Trump-appointed federal prosecutor for two misdemeanors related to failure to pay taxes in a timely manner, and for felony gun possession.
Wray himself was appointed FBI Director by Trump in 2017 after the then-President fired James Comey.