FBI director Christopher Wray fended off accusations of political bias at the bureau Tuesday, amid controversy over a GOP memo that suggests misconduct by officials at the FBI and Department of Justice.
“Every office I go to, every division I go to has patriots,” Wray told lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “People who could do anything else with their careers but have chosen to work for the FBI, because they believe in serving others.”
“I encourage our folks not to get too hung up on what I consider to be the noise on TV and social media,” Wray said.
President Donald Trump said in December that the reputation of the FBI is “in tatters” after the leadership of Wray’s predecessor Jim Comey. “Worst in history!” Trump said in a tweet. “But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”
Wray reiterated on Tuesday his concerns about a Republican-drafted memo that the president declassified earlier in February alleging surveillance abuses against a former Trump adviser.
“We had then, and continue to have now, grave concerns about the accuracy of the memorandum because of omissions,” Wray said. “We provided thousands of documents that were very sensitive and lots and lots of briefings. It is very hard for anybody to distill all that down to three and a half pages.”
The GOP-led House Intelligence Committee memo suggests that federal officials mishandled a warrant application to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Per the memo, a controversial dossier compiled by ex-British spy Christopher Steele, and financed through an intermediary by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, served as an “essential part” of that application. Federal officials were not entirely forthcoming in the application or subsequent renewals about the political origins of the dossier, according to the memo.
Wray confirmed in response to questioning Tuesday that he has not seen any evidence of inherent political bias at the bureau. He described the agents at the bureau as “sturdy” and able to withstand hardship.
Ahead of the declassification of the GOP memo, the FBI expressed “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.” The Department of Justice also urged the panel not to release the memo without DOJ and FBI vetting, describing the move as “extraordinarily reckless.”
Asked by California Democrat Kamala Harris on Tuesday whether he would hand over “additional sensitive FBI information” on the Russia probes if Trump asked for it, Wray said, “I am not going to discuss the investigation in question with the president, much less provide information from that investigation to him.”
This post originally appeared on Weekly Standard