Week ahead: FBI, intel chiefs head to Capitol Hill

Week ahead: FBI, intel chiefs head to Capitol Hill
© Camille Fine

The head of the FBI is expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the coming week for a routine hearing about global threats that pose a risk to U.S. national security.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, who is scheduled to appear on Tuesday, will address questions about worldwide threats with other top intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsTrump crosses new line with Omar, Tlaib, Israel move Hillicon Valley: Deepfakes pose 2020 test for media | States beg Congress for more election security funds | Experts worry campaigns falling short on cybersecurity | Trump officials urge reauthorization of NSA surveillance program Trump administration urges Congress to reauthorize NSA surveillance program MORE, CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan Japan's Hormuz dilemma The Hill's Morning Report — Recession fears climb and markets dive — now what? MORE and National Security Agency Director Mike RogersMichael (Mike) Dennis RogersHillicon Valley: House panel subpoenas 8chan owner | FCC takes step forward on T-Mobile-Sprint merger | Warren wants probe into FTC over Equifax settlement | Groups make new push to end surveillance program House Homeland Security Committee subpoenas 8chan owner Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post MORE, among others, according to the committee. 

His appearance on Capitol Hill comes at a time when the bureau is facing scrutiny from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? MORE and some GOP lawmakers over allegations of political bias. 

ADVERTISEMENT

While FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page no longer serve on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE's investigative team after an internal investigation last year revealed that they had sent text messages disparaging Trump and other political figures during the election, Republican senators may question Wray about the status of the two officials, their involvement in now-closed investigations and their continued work at the bureau.

Also be on the lookout for a possible showdown between Wray and Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (D-Ore.) over the issue of encryption. Wyden wrote a letter to the FBI chief in late January blasting him for calling for a technical fix to the so-called going dark problem, or the inability of authorities to break into encrypted devices and access-protected data during investigations.

Meanwhile, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Subcommittee on Information Technology is holding the first of three hearings on artificial intelligence on Wednesday, exploring the barriers to, as well as potential challenges and advantages of, use of AI in the government.

The House Intelligence Committee will also likely be busy. Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon may appear before the House panel in the coming week. The meeting was postponed on Wednesday over a dispute between Bannon's legal team and the committee about the scope of his pending interview. 

In a committee consumed with partisan infighting, both Democrats and Republicans were equally infuriated with Bannon last month after he essentially asserted a form of executive privilege, refusing to discuss matters that took place during the Trump transition period.

Lawmakers on the committee said he had no basis to assert this privilege on the transition period because Trump was not in office yet.

If Bannon does not appear, expect Democrats on the committee to push for a vote to enforce the subpoena against him.

 

In case you missed them, here are some of our recent pieces:

Senators demand answers from CFPB on Equifax probe

DOJ charges 36 in global cyber crime ring takedown

Judiciary Dems demand immediate hearings on election hacking

House passes bill aimed at boosting cyber cooperation with Ukraine

Republican senators want to bar US government from using ZTE, Huawei devices

Hacking threats loom over 2018 Olympics

Equifax contests Warren claim that breach exposed passport numbers

UK lawmakers press social media giants over Russian influence

Tillerson proposes new unified bureau at State to focus on cyber

DHS pushes back against Kaspersky motion to overturn federal ban

Russian hackers targeting US defense contractors: report

 

Morgan Chalfant contributed.