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 TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE's email server, as well as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation 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 SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe 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 GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings 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 MORE (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”