We reported on some of FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony yesterday before the House. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) nailed him on a question that Wray refused to answer about FBI agents or informants in the Capitol on Jan. 6. That didn’t go well for Wray.
On Thursday, Wray was testifying before the Senate and the senators had a few things that they needed to settle first with him based on his last appearance before them. Back on August 4, Wray refused to stick around for about twenty more minutes to answer more questions from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said he had a plane to catch. Ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) busted that, saying Wray flew on a private plane, so why couldn’t he hang out for a few more minutes? As we reported, Wray told Grassley he had “other business.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray After Having To Leave Early From Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing Today
Senator Grassley: "I assume you've got other business?"
Director Wray: "Yeh." pic.twitter.com/luPDQpmbrQ
— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) August 4, 2022
Turns out that “business” was flying in the private plane we pay for to go on vacation to his home in the Adirondacks. Whoops.
So on Thursday, that was the first order of business for Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — to call Wray out on lying to them. “So you left a statutorily required oversight hearing in order to go on a personal vacation in the Adirondacks?” Hawley stated. Listen as Wray tries to wiggle out of this one, claiming that the “other business” he was talking about referred to business the next week as opposed to the very clear conversation we cited above, deceiving Grassley. He not only left the meeting to go off on vacation and blow off the twenty minutes of questions, but he also lied in the process to get out of it.
"Please tell me that's not accurate…"
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) November 17, 2022
Then Hawley asked him whether or not he paid for the trip. It has been the practice in the past for personal trips for FBI officials that the officials reimbursed the taxpayers at the commercial rate. Wray claimed that he paid for the flight. He also claimed that he was required to use the plane.
Then Hawley lambasted Wray for what had been going on under him, as he was ducking oversight and going on vacation. Hawley called him out for sending more than a dozen agents to the home of a pro-life activist to arrest him at gunpoint in front of his children in the early morning hours, even though he posed no violence or threat and had previously offered to turn himself in if need be.
Hawley also said that whistleblowers have alleged that the FBI, including the Washington field office, has pulled agents off of other cases — such as child sex abuse and human trafficking cases — to deal with Jan. 6 cases, to give the “appearance” (according to the whistleblowers) that there were hundreds of new domestic terrorism cases brewing when there were not. The whistleblowers also expressed concerns about the use of SWAT teams on non-violent suspects who may have attended the Jan. 6 rally and they’ve knocked on doors of people who weren’t even there on Jan. 6. All of this to pad the stats, because of a political directive, according to the whistleblowers.
Hawley added that the whistleblowers said that the leadership deliberately suppressed investigations into Hunter Biden, contrary to procedure, and have retaliated against whistleblowers for talking to Congress about these issues. Hawley noted that whistleblowers are protected by statute.
“This is what is happening at your FBI while you are evading oversight hearings,” Hawley concluded. He said he didn’t think Wray was up to the job and should have been gone long ago. He also said there was going to be a second round of questioning and asked whether Wray was going to be sticking around for this one this time, in a brilliant finish.
The Senate Republicans don’t have control of the chamber, but they and the House need to not just pursue Wray’s lying to Congress — that’s important — but they need to pursue him for the conduct of his office which is a much more important problem, with all the bias that is being alleged and which we have already seen. The FBI has been compromised for a while. Cleaning things up won’t be as simple as just booting Wray — they need a complete house cleaning which may not be able to be done until 2024. But the GOP needs to do what it can to hold Wray and the leadership to account now and protect the whistleblowers.