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FBI chief, intelligence officials to testify before Senate panel next week

FBI chief, intelligence officials to testify before Senate panel next week
© Camille Fine

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week for a hearing focused on global threats, the panel announced Wednesday.

Wray will be joined by a slate of top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTop state election official questions why Trump is downplaying threat of Russian election interference: report Russian bots turn to gun control after Florida high school shooting: report The case alleging Russian collusion is not closed MORE, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe CIA may need to call White House to clarify Russia meddling Intel agencies to brief officials from all 50 states on election threats Russia probe complicating House hearing on threats facing US: report MORE, National Security Agency Director Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersObama failed on Russia; Trump must get it right Why American politics keep rewarding failure Overnight Cybersecurity: Intel chiefs expect Russia to meddle in 2018 midterms | Wyden presses FBI chief on encryption | Trump to tap Army cyber chief as NSA director MORE, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo, the committee said. 

While the Feb. 13 testimony is routine — part of an annual hearing intended to examine current threats to U.S. national security — Wray's appearance comes as the FBI faces scrutiny from the White House and some Republican lawmakers who have raised concerns about political bias among agents at his bureau.

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That scrutiny spilled out into the open last week when Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a contentious memo alleging that senior FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) officials misused their authority to obtain a secret surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpAccuser says Trump should be afraid of the truth Woman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Shulkin says he has White House approval to root out 'subversion' at VA MORE moved to approve the memo's release, despite concerns raised by the FBI about material omissions in the document that could affect its accuracy.

Trump claimed on Saturday that the memo "vindicates" him in the law enforcement investigation into possible collusion between his presidential campaign and Russia. 

After the memo was released on Friday, Wray sent a message to FBI employees, urging them to "keep calm and tackle hard."

"Talk is cheap; the work you do is what will endure," he said.

Trump has openly feuded with the FBI throughout his first year in office, accusing the agency of politicizing law enforcement, mishandling the investigation into Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE’s use of a private email server during her tenure at the State Department and calling the Russia probe a “witch hunt.”

Trump fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyDopey Russian ads didn't swing voters — federal coverups did Assessing Trump's impeachment odds through a historic lens Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? MORE in May, citing concerns about his handling of the Clinton investigation. Trump later said, however, that the FBI's Russia probe was on his mind when he made the decision to oust Comey.

Trump has also directed some of his ire at former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeDopey Russian ads didn't swing voters — federal coverups did Federal abuses on Obama's watch represent a growing blight on his legacy In the case of the FISA memos, transparency is national security MORE, whom he repeatedly accused of political bias. Fueling those allegations was the fact that McCabe’s wife received a contribution from a group linked to a Clinton ally during her 2015 campaign for the Virginia state Senate. McCabe resigned last month.

Updated: 4:17 p.m.