FBI Director Avoids Giving Direct Answers to Senate Judiciary Committee

FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday and faced a litany of questions about the agency’s patterns of singling out ordinary Americans for investigations as violent threats while giving a pass to the Biden family. As expected, Wray danced around providing substance and doubled down on actions taken against American citizens.

Both Republican and Democrat members of the committee expressed their frustrations with the FBI’s evasiveness and failure to respond to a variety of formal written requests for information.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) summed up the general tone of the hearing by telling Wray that there is a perception in the country that there are “two tiers of justice,” one for ordinary Americans and another for “people that are favored.”

Ranking GOP member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) grilled Wray about the politically motivated investigations of parents who dare to question the policy decisions of local school boards. Grassley referred to a letter he sent Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland last month explaining that citizens “have no confidence in the equal application of the law.”

When Grassley directly asked Wray what he intended to do about concerns that the FBI has become politicized, the director said he is “not familiar with that” and, “Let me see if there’s something we can share with you on that.”

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) asked Wray why the FBI has been demanding that Missouri officials hand over information about concealed carry permit holders. Wray refused to tell Hawley why the federal government had any interest in the broad gathering of personal information without any suspicion of criminal activity.

The director also danced around answering questions about border security asked by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

When Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) asked what the agency was doing to investigate violent domestic terror attacks against pro-life pregnancy centers and churches since the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in June, Wray again equivocated. He said that the agency will “go after that conduct aggressively” but failed to provide any specific information about the number of investigations that are being conducted.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pressed Wray on the directives issued by the FBI outlining symbols of violent extremism. He pointed out that the agency is now telling agents that historic and patriotic symbols like the Betsy Ross and Gadsden flags are extremist symbols. Wray acted as if he had never seen the FBI bulletin outlining traditional American flags as potential investigative targets.

Wray also said the FBI had no advance warning that there could be an unruly demonstration at the Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. He further refused to condemn the false allegations made against the 2016 Trump campaign and alleged Russian connections.

Blackburn demanded a direct answer when she asked Wray if the Russian collusion allegations were a hoax. Wray deferred to the reports from the special counsel and the inspector general, saying that a hoax is not “the terminology I would use.”