FBI Director Defends Agency to GOP Critics on Capitol Hill
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WASHINGTON - On Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Republican lawmakers faced off against FBI Director Christopher Wray. They grilled him over allegations of politicizing the bureau and bias against conservatives.
"American speech is censored, parents are called terrorists; Catholics are called radicals," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).
In his opening remarks, Jordan repeatedly accused the FBI of using their resources for political purposes, claims Wray forcefully denied.
"My expectation for all investigations, repeatedly communicated to all of our people, especially important in sensitive investigations, is that our folks take great pains to be rigorous, professional, objective, following all our policies and procedures and do the work in the right way," Wray said.
Republicans repeatedly brought up the Hunter Biden investigation.
"Are you protecting the Bidens," Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) asked Wray.
"Absolutely not, the FBI has no interest in protecting anyone politically," he responded.
Democrats, meanwhile, accused Republicans of using the oversight hearing to protect former President Donald Trump and return him to the White House. "Welcome to the legislative arm of the Trump re-election campaign," said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA).
Some members of the GOP have called for the FBI to be defunded, a decision Wray said would be disastrous for not only the 38,000 law enforcement personnel who make up the bureau but also for American citizens.
"We would have hundreds more violent criminals out on the street. Dozens more violent gangs terrorizing communities. Hundreds more child predators on the loose. Hundreds more kids left at those predators' mercy instead of being rescued. Scores of threats from the Chinese Communist party being unaddressed," Wray warned lawmakers.
Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, questioned Wray over how his bureau can protect Americans while doing a better job of respecting their civil liberties. Buck brought up concerns with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), specifically when the FBI has used it to monitor Americans without probable cause.
"I fear we're going to overcorrect on FISA in Congress, I fear we're going to take away tools that are necessary because there's a trust factor missing," Buck said.
"We've implemented a series of reforms...a lot of the public commentary about our failures. And let's be clear, we have had problems. And those problems are unacceptable and I'm determined with my leadership team to fix them. But those problems almost entirely pre-date those reforms even though some have just come out," Wray said.
Overall, Republicans did not appear to be satisfied with Wray's responses and are expected to push for further reforms within the FBI.
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