WASHINGTON -- Four days after President Donald Trump tweeted that the FBI's reputation was "in tatters," FBI Director Christopher A. Wray staunchly defended the federal law enforcement agency Thursday, telling Congress "there is no finer institution."
"We are determined to be the very best at protecting the American people and upholding the rule of law," Wray told the House Judiciary Committee.
Asked about Trump's disparaging tweet, Wray answered carefully.
"There is no shortage of opinions out there," he said. "The FBI I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women that are working hard. The FBI that I see is people, decent people, committed to the highest principles of dignity and professionalism and respect."
He also acknowledged he doesn't use the president's favorite form of social media.
"My folks would tell you I'm not really a Twitter guy," Wray said. "I've never tweeted, do not have any plans to tweet, don't really engage in tweeting."
The FBI has been buffeted by Republican criticism of the special counsel's investigation of the Trump campaign's contacts with Russian officials, which Trump has called a hoax, and by Trump's more personal attacks on Wray's predecessor, James B. Comey.
In the hearing, Republicans pushed Wray to block any anti-Trump biases in the FBI while Democrats pressed him to stand up to the White House and keep the bureau independent.
The president tweeted on Sunday that Comey's four years at the helm of the FBI left the bureau's reputation "in Tatters -- worst in History!"
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., the House committee chairman, appeared to back that view, saying Thursday that "it does appear to me that, at the very least, the FBI's reputation as an impartial, nonpolitical agency has been called into question."