FBI chief Christopher Wray defends agency after Trump's attacks
FBI Director Christopher Wray strongly defended the agency and hit back at US President Donald Trump who had earlier tweeted that its reputation was "in tatters." Speaking to the House of Representatives judiciary committee, Wray said there was "no finer institution." Trump has been critical of the FBI's investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. He had fired Wray's predecessor James Comey in May.
On December 3, Trump posted a series of tweets attacking the FBI and has once again denied asking former FBI director James Comey to end an investigation into his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Trump also said the FBI's reputation was "in tatters." This came amid recent developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the US presidential election.
When asked to respond to Trump's tweet, Wray said: "There is no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart." He said the FBI personnel have been working tirelessly "to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, North Korea, and Iran."
In his tweets, Trump had criticized the FBI over reports that an agent part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's alleged election meddling, had been fired for sending messages indicating his political bias for Clinton. The Republicans on the House committee asked Wray what he'll do about agents "tainted" by bias. Wray said he would take "appropriate action" pending an independent investigation.
Both Trump and the Republicans raised questions over the fired FBI agent in a possible bid to raise doubts over the impartiality of Mueller's investigation. Several of Trump's former aides are facing criminal charges for their links to Russia. Reports suggest that Mueller's investigation is now possibly focusing on senior Trump administration officials, including the president's son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner.