FBI's Wray says most domestic terrorism arrests this year involve white supremacy

FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that the agency has made about 100 domestic terrorism-related arrests since October, and the majority were tied to white supremacy.

”I will say that a majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence, but it does include other things as well,” Wray said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, referring to cases in fiscal 2019, which began Oct. 1.

The FBI is “aggressively” investigating domestic terrorism and hate crimes, Wray said, noting that the bureau is focused on investigating the violence, not the ideology motivating the attacks.

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Wray distinguished between what he termed homegrown violent extremism, wording he said the FBI uses to refer to people in United States who are inspired by global jihadists, and domestic extremism, which Wray described as broader to include racially motivated extremists, anarchists and others.

The number of domestic terrorism arrests are on par with the amount international terrorism cases, according to Wray.

“In terms of number of arrests, we have through the third quarter of this fiscal year had about give or take 100 arrests on the international terrorism side, which includes the homegrown violent extremism,” Wray told Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility House panel investigating decision to resume federal executions To combat domestic terrorism, Congress must equip law enforcement to fight rise in white supremacist attacks MORE (D-Ill.) at the hearing. “We’ve also had just about the same number — again, don’t quote me to the exact digit — on the domestic terrorism side.”

Durbin used his time to zero in on the threat of white supremacist- and white nationalist-motivated violence. Several high-profile domestic crimes in recent years have been tied to white supremacists, including the death of a counterprotester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

Durbin also raised concerns that the Trump administration is not prioritizing the threat from white nationalists. President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE has at times appeared to downplay the threat, saying earlier this year that he did not believe white nationalism was on the rise following two deadly attacks on mosques in New Zealand.

“There is a concern that this is not being taken as seriously as it should be as one of the real threats in our country,” Durbin said while raising questions about the FBI's shift to using the new category of "racially-motivated violent extremism" to describe race-related crimes.

“We take domestic terrorism or hate crime — regardless of ideology — extremely seriously, I can assure you, and we are aggressively pursuing it using both counterterrorism resources and criminal investigative resources and partnering closely with our state and local partners," Wray said.

“Our focus is on the violence," Wray added. "We the FBI don’t investigate the ideology, no matter how repugnant. We investigate violence. And any extremist ideology, when it turns to violence, we’re all over it.”

Wray has previously said that white supremacy poses a significant and “pervasive” threat to the United States.