Washington: FBI Director Chris Wray defended the “real FBI” during a contentious congressional hearing Wednesday, rejecting a litany of grievances from angry Republicans who are harshly critical of the bureau, threatening to defund some operations and claiming the Justice Department is unfair to political conservatives, including Donald Trump.
Wray refused to engage in specific questions about ongoing federal investigations, including those involving former President Trump and Hunter Biden. The son of President Joe Biden recently reached an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanor federal tax charges; Republicans have derided that as a sweetheart deal.
In testy exchanges with Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, Wray rejected the GOP assertion that the bureau was favoring the Biden family and said the notion that the bureau was involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was “ludicrous.” Referring to his own background, he said the idea that he harbors bias against conservatives is “insane.”
“The work the men and women of the FBI do to protect the American people goes way beyond one or two investigations that seem to capture all the headlines,” said Wray, a registered Republican who Trump nominated to lead the FBI after firing James Comey in 2017.
The director spelled out the bureau’s crime-fighting work breaking up drug cartels, taking some 60 suspected criminals off the streets each day and protecting Americans from “a staggering array of threats.”
He said, “That is the real FBI.”
It’s the latest display of the new normal on Capitol Hill, where Republicans who have long billed themselves as the champions of police and “law and order” are deeply at odds with federal law enforcement and the FBI, accusing the bureau of bias dating to investigations of Trump when he was president.
This new dynamic has forced Democrats into a position of defending law enforcement agencies they have long criticized. Wray testified for nearly six hours.