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 TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGeorge Takei: US has hit a new low under Trump Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' MORE's email server, as well as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump 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 SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Rosenstein10 questions for Robert Mueller What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Trump says he won't watch Mueller testimony 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 GowdyCummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump Our sad reality: Donald Trump is no Eisenhower MORE (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”