FBI chief: I’m trying to bring ‘normalcy’ in ‘turbulent times’
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 Trump and congressional Republicans over their probes into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia and Hillary Clinton’s email server, as well as special counsel Robert Mueller’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 Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 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 Gowdy (R-S.C.) told the Journal that Wray is part of the “clean up squad” not the “cover up squad.”
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