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 CoatsGOP senator places hold on Trump counterintelligence nominee Civil liberties groups press Trump administration on NSA call record collection Trump’s ‘Syraqistan’ strategy is a success — and a failure MORE, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: States pull National Guard troops over family separation policy | Senators question pick for Afghan commander | US leaves UN Human Rights Council US pulls out of UN Human Rights Council Negotiators must redouble efforts as clock ticks on NAFTA MORE, National Security Agency Director Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersSenate defense bill would authorize spying on Russians engaged in disinformation, hacking To win the new space race, US must abandon clunky, outdated systems Senate panel breaks with House, says Russia sought to help Trump win in 2016 MORE, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Robert Ashley and National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 TrumpConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Poll: McSally holds 14-point lead in Arizona GOP Senate primary Trump defends Nielsen amid criticism over family separations 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 ClintonLewandowski says 'womp womp' at story of young girl being separated from mother at border Giuliani: FBI asked me about tease of a 'surprise' before election Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe 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 ComeyGiuliani: FBI asked me about tease of a 'surprise' before election Republicans tear into IG finding on Clinton probe FBI agent Peter Strzok escorted from building amid internal review 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 McCabeNo, Christopher Wray, we don't trust you FBI has no excuse to hide future scandals from American public The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Defiant Trump meets with House GOP amid border blowback 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.