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 John TrumpHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Judge suggests Trump’s tweet about Stormy Daniels was ‘hyperbole’ not defamation Rosenstein faces Trump showdown MORE and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2016 pollsters erred by not weighing education on state level, says political analyst Could President Trump's talk of a 'red wave' cause his supporters to stay home in midterms? Dem group targets Trump in M voter registration campaign: report MORE's email server, as well as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russian interference.

Trump has long derided the investigation as a "witch hunt" and slammed senior Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 13 states accepted Sessions invitation to meeting on social media bias: report MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHouse Republican threatens to push for Rosenstein impeachment unless he testifies Rosenstein faces Trump showdown Solicitor general could take over Mueller probe if Rosenstein exits 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."

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 GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyHouse panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms Rosenstein report gives GOP new ammo against DOJ Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation MORE (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”