FBI director defends agency amid scrutiny from House Republicans

FBI Director Christopher Wray underscored the importance of protecting the identity of human sources in testimony Wed...

Posted: May 17, 2018 6:14 AM
Updated: May 17, 2018 6:14 AM

FBI Director Christopher Wray underscored the importance of protecting the identity of human sources in testimony Wednesday amid an ongoing battle with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and other House Republicans over the disclosure of a document the Justice Department says would endanger a source.

"The day that we can't protect human sources is the day the American people start becoming less safe," Wray told members of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Human sources in particular who put themselves at great risk to work with us and with our foreign partners have to be able to trust that we're going to protect their identities and in many cases their lives and the lives of their families."

Wray said he respected Congress' oversight duties and "we welcome the tough questions given our responsibilities" but defended the pace of the bureau's document production, as the FBI and Justice Department have faced subpoenas and criticism from House Republicans.

In March, Wray said he doubled the number of staff who were reviewing documents requested as part of one Hill probe.

"We actually have been dealing with quite a number of requests, some of them almost unprecedented in their volume from a number of different committees," Wray said Wednesday. "We're chugging away, making progress."

"Every week we're cranking out documents and people are coming over to spaces that we have set aside from the Hill to review documents. So it's an ongoing process, thousands of documents being released," he said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, called suggestions by Nunes that Wray should be impeached over the document spat "beyond balderdash" and "one of the dumbest statements I've heard any member of Congress in either party ever say."

Asked by Leahy if he stood by his past testimony that the Russia investigation is not a witch hunt -- as President Donald Trump has repeatedly called it -- Wray said "yes."

Wray defends integrity of the FBI, sidesteps Trump criticism

Wray defended the integrity of bureau, but declined to directly address criticism leveled at the FBI by President Trump at several points during the hearing.

"We have seen, I think tragically, a series of public statements by President Trump suggesting that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election is 'a witch hunt'. He literally said last month 'you look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it's a disgrace,'" Democratic Sen. Chris Coons said.

The senator then brought up a recent poll that showed a majority of Republicans said the FBI and the Justice Department are framing the president.

Wray responded by saying, "While I recognize there are a lot of opinions out there, we don't focus on polls, and surveys and studies. We focus on, as I said, the opinions of the people who know us through our work. And what I find when i go out and talk to people in the field out on the front lines -- our partners, the judges, the prosecutors, the victims -- the feedback i get, uniformly, is positive and supportive."

Leahy also brought up Trump's criticism of the FBI, and expressed concern over what he described as "the relentless, politicized attacks on our nation's law enforcement" by the administration. The Democratic senator then asked Wray if he believes "the men and women of the FBI working on the Russia investigation are driven by anything other than a duty to the rule of law and to ensuring that anyone who attacked our democracy in 2016 is held accountable?"

Wray did not weigh in on the President's criticism, sticking to praise for FBI agents instead.

"The agents that I have worked with since being on the job have inspired me every day in terms of their professionalism, their integrity, their courage and their commitment to doing the right thing in the right way," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36680

Reported Deaths: 1250
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds299254
DeSoto195920
Madison148439
Jones122449
Harrison117716
Rankin112619
Neshoba104677
Forrest103843
Lauderdale96681
Scott82415
Jackson79819
Washington73713
Copiah67016
Leake63420
Lee62822
Oktibbeha61928
Grenada6049
Warren60021
Holmes59541
Lamar5837
Wayne56519
Yazoo5607
Lowndes54817
Leflore53456
Lincoln53335
Lafayette5064
Pike50520
Sunflower5048
Monroe46135
Panola4546
Covington4465
Simpson4433
Bolivar41218
Tate39213
Attala38624
Newton37610
Adams35820
Pontotoc3556
Marion34512
Claiborne30811
Pearl River30332
Winston30111
Chickasaw30019
Marshall2923
Jasper2816
Noxubee2799
Walthall2708
Clay26111
Union25412
Smith25212
Coahoma2306
Clarke22325
Lawrence2132
Yalobusha2089
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18211
Montgomery1793
Calhoun1705
Humphreys16910
Hancock14813
Itawamba1478
Tippah14611
Webster13411
Jefferson1283
Prentiss1274
Jefferson Davis1254
Tunica1253
George1233
Greene11610
Amite1123
Alcorn1072
Tishomingo1061
Quitman1011
Wilkinson989
Perry914
Stone772
Choctaw764
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton470
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 54768

Reported Deaths: 1096
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6746170
Mobile4904140
Montgomery4547112
Tuscaloosa269053
Madison22689
Marshall198011
Shelby169125
Lee159637
Morgan13385
Baldwin127711
Walker107532
Elmore106721
Etowah101114
Dallas10029
DeKalb9677
Franklin93816
Autauga69815
Russell6860
Unassigned67928
Chambers67730
Butler65229
Limestone6393
Tallapoosa63069
Cullman6156
Houston6077
Lauderdale5776
St. Clair5443
Calhoun5155
Colbert5096
Escambia4888
Lowndes48422
Pike4795
Jackson4352
Coffee4284
Covington41612
Talladega4017
Barbour3992
Dale3951
Bullock37810
Hale35423
Marengo35411
Chilton3312
Blount3201
Clarke3176
Wilcox3038
Winston2995
Sumter29213
Marion29014
Pickens2746
Randolph2639
Monroe2603
Perry2502
Conecuh2318
Bibb2241
Macon2199
Choctaw21712
Greene1989
Henry1553
Washington1488
Lawrence1360
Crenshaw1323
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Lamar891
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Fayette851
Coosa661
Cleburne451
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