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FBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times'

FBI chief: I'm trying to bring 'normalcy' in 'turbulent times'
© Greg Nash

FBI Director Christopher Wray says he is trying to bring a sense of "normalcy" to his agency in the midst of "turbulent times."

“My big point of emphasis has been that even though we live in tumultuous times, turbulent times, I’m trying to bring calm, stability -- dare I say it -- normalcy, in an environment where I think there’s an appetite for that,” Wray said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday.

During his first year as FBI chief, Wray's agency has been under the spotlight and faced criticism from President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Some Democrats worry rising crime will cost them The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats await Manchin decision on voting rights bill Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE's email server, as well as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's investigation into Russian interference.

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Trump has long derided the investigation as a "witch hunt" and slammed senior Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report - After high-stakes Biden-Putin summit, what now? Border state governors rebel against Biden's immigration chaos Garland strikes down Trump-era asylum decisions MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinHouse Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Media leaders to meet with Garland to discuss leak investigations MORE for not stopping it.

On Monday, the FBI fired a special agent, Peter Strzok, who was found to have sent anti-Trump text messages during the 2016 election.

Wray downplayed Trump's critical tweets in the interview with the Journal.

“Social media commentary has its place, but that’s not what drives our work,” he said.

Asked about his relationship with the president, Wray said: "It's professional."

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Wray also defended Rosenstein, who is under fire from conservative Republicans who accuse him of stonewalling them on requests for documents. Rosenstein is the DOJ official overseeing Mueller's special counsel investigation. But he also did not criticize GOP lawmakers. 

“I’m not going to be weighing in, commenting on other’s opinions,” he said.

Wray told the Journal his focus is on the FBI and its mission.

“I’m a big believer in the idea that actions speak louder than words, and so what I look at is what do I see in terms of people’s commitment to the mission, success in the mission, desire to work here,” he said. “Our focus is our oath, our mission, the rule of law.”

The Journal noted that some tough critics of the FBI have nonetheless praised Wray.

That strategy is earning Wray applause from some of the FBI’s most frequent critics, Rep. Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”