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 TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE's email server, as well as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment 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 SessionsHouse Democrats leave empty chair for McGahn at hearing MSNBC host: Barr 'the most dangerous person' who works for Trump Chris Wallace: AG Barr 'clearly is protecting' Trump MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats talk subpoena for Mueller Klobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook 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 Dem calls on lawmakers to 'insulate' election process following Mueller report Democrats put harassment allegations against Trump on back burner Democrats seize on Mueller-Barr friction MORE (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”