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FBI Director Christopher Wray defends bureau after Trump calls it 'in tatters'

Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

After Trump fired Comey in May, he said he made the decision because of what he called "the Russia thing," the investigation into whether any of Trump's associates had aided Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was named special counsel and took over the probe in the political tumult that followed Comey's ouster.

Since then, Mueller has filed criminal charges against four of Trump's former aides. Two, including his former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., the committee's ranking member, urged Wray to stand up to Trump's criticism.

"I believe that these attacks on the FBI will grow louder and more brazen as the special counsel does his work and the walls close in around the president, and evidence of his obstruction and other misdeeds becomes more apparent," Nadler said.

Critics called the FBI's impartiality into question after Mueller removed Peter Strzok, a senior agent, from the case in the summer for sending text messages that could be considered anti-Trump. The agent previously had worked on the investigation into Hillary Clinton's private email server.

"We do not know the magnitude of this insider bias on Mr. Mueller's team," Goodlatte said. He called it "absolutely unacceptable for FBI employees to permit their own political predilections to contaminate any investigation."


Wray defended Mueller, however, calling him "very well respected" and saying he concurred with a recent tweet by Comey that called the FBI honest, strong and independent. Wray likely would take over the Russia probe if Trump moves to fire Mueller.

Wray was confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 1. He previously worked as a federal prosecutor in Georgia and was a high-ranking Department of Justice official in President George W. Bush's administration. He was in private practice when Trump tapped him for the post.

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