FBI director: White supremacy a 'persistent, pervasive threat'

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday told lawmakers that white supremacist violence is a “persistent” and “pervasive” threat in the U.S.

"The danger, I think, of white supremacists, violent extremism or another kind of extremism is, of course, significant," Wray said at an FBI budget request hearing before the House Appropriations Committee.

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"We assess that it is a persistent, pervasive threat," he said. "We tackle it both through our joint terrorism task forces on the domestic terrorism side as well as through our civil rights program on the civil side through hate crime enforcement."

Wray’s comments follow those of President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE, who said after last month's mass shooting in New Zealand that white supremacists were “a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Trump sparked controversy in 2017 after a deadly Charlottesville, Va., white supremacist rally when he said there "some very fine people on both sides."

The House Judiciary Committee announced it will hold a hearing on white nationalism and hate crimes on Tuesday.

"This hearing will examine hate crimes, the impact white nationalist groups have on American communities and the spread of white identity ideology,” the panel said in a statement. “The hearing will also foster ideas about what social media companies can do to stem white nationalist propaganda and hate speech online."

An indictment unsealed last week found that federal investigators have filed criminal charges for murder, assault and kidnapping against 18 members and associates of a violent Alaska-based white supremacist gang.