FBI Director Christopher Wray testified Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, fielding topics from border security and China to the Hunter Biden investigation.
Wray’s testimony came as the FBI faces continued scrutiny by a House investigation into “weaponized” government under the Biden administration.
Here are key takeaways from Wray’s appearance.
1. ‘Hiding Behind the Skirts of the Attorney General’ on Hunter Biden
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, grilled Wray about the investigation of Hunter Biden on the same day that three House committees conducting an impeachment inquiry into his father, President Joe Biden, released a report alleging favorable treatment of the Bidens by the Justice Department.
The report from the three House committees—Oversight and Accountability, Judiciary, and Ways and Means—said that before U.S. Attorney for Delaware David Weiss was named as a special counsel, Justice Department officials confirmed that Weiss lacked authority as a U.S. attorney to fully investigate the first son.
Cruz asked Wray about two IRS whistleblowers’ testimony about improper infuence exerted on the agency’s tax-related investigation of the younger Biden, who is accused of trading on his father’s name in overseas business deals in Ukraine, China, and other countries.
“I would refer you to the ongoing investigation being led by special counsel Weiss,” Wray said.
Cruz later followed up by asking: “The FBI, do they make a routine of allowing partisan political optics to prevent investigating serious evidence of corruption?”
Wray denied that’s the case, but Cruz became agitated.
“My instructions to our people on this and on every other investigation are that we are to follow the facts wherever they lead, no matter who likes it, no matter what political influence,” Wray said.
Cruz asked: “Then why didn’t you get the GPS data on where Joe Biden and Hunter Biden were?”
Wray replied: “Again, Senator, with respect, I can’t discuss an ongoing investigation.”
Cruz expressed more frustration.
“But it’s not with respect. Director Wray, you and I have gone round and round on this,” the Texas Republican said. “Every time you’re asked about this, the answer is it’s an ongoing investigation.”
“Of course, the investigation isn’t ongoing,” Cruz added. “You are not doing the work. You’ve got whistleblowers pointing out that you are not doing the work, and you are hiding behind the skirt of the attorney general.”
2. China Supplier of Fentanyl … and Meth
Wray said the drug threats from China go well beyond fentanyl, a deadly narcotic.
“We’ve found enough fentanyl to kill 80% of the American people?” asked Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
“That’s just in the last two years,” Wray responded.
Graham: “Do you think we missed some fentanyl?”
Graham followed by asking: “What role does China play in the fentanyl problems of America?”
“China supplies most of the precursors to the cartels in Mexico, which then leads to the fentanyl that comes here,” Wray said. “That’s been talked about a fair amount, and it’s a huge problem. But in addition to that, China is also responsible for an awful lot of the manufacturing of the pill presses, which of course, are also used.”
“And in addition to that,” the FBI director added, “a lot of people don’t know this, but China is also responsible for an awful lot of the precursors for the meth that’s manufactured south of the border as well.”
3. Border Crisis and International Terrorism
Graham pressed Wray, asking: “Are you concerned that international terrorism threats to the homeland are rising as the border continues to be broken?”
The FBI director said the threat level for terrorism is elevated.
“I am concerned that we are in an elevated threat environment, a heightened threat environment from foreign terrorist organizations for a whole host of reasons,” Wray said.
Obviously, their ability to exploit any port of entry, including our southwest border, is a source of concern. There is a lot of discussion about numbers, and numbers are important. But let’s not forget that it didn’t take a big number of people on 9/11 to kill 3,000 people. While numbers are important, numbers don’t tell the whole story. And we have seen an increase in KST, known or suspected terrorists, attempting to cross over the last five years.
4. ‘Why Didn’t You Just Tell Everybody the Laptop is Real?’
Hunter Biden came up again in connection with the FBI’s alleged role of meddling in the 2020 presidential election to the benefit of Joe Biden’s campaign over incumbent Donald Trump’s.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., inquired about Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop, which came to light in news reports in the weeks before the Nov. 3 election.
Several social media outlets blocked the New York Post’s reporting on the contents of the laptop. Then-candidate Joe Biden, a former vice president and U.S. senator representing Delaware, alleged that the laptop was Russian disinformation.
However, after the election, left-leaning media outlets such as The New York Times and The Washington Post confirmed that the pre-election reporting by the New York Post was accurate.
“Why didn’t you just tell everybody the laptop is real?” Kennedy asked Wray. “‘We’re not vouching for what’s on it. But it’s real. It’s not a fiction.’”
The FBI director stressed the need for the bureau to avoid talking about elections.
“As you might imagine, the FBI cannot, especially in a time like that, be talking about an ongoing investigation,” Wray said. “Second, I would tell you, at least my understanding is, that both the FBI folks involved in the conversation and the Twitter folks involved in the conversation both say the FBI did not direct Twitter to suppress.”
Kennedy responded: “But others were in government.”
“I can’t speak to others in government,” Wray replied. “That’s part of the point I was trying to make.”
Kennedy said the FBI had a duty.
“You are not part of the White House and not part of [the Department of] Homeland Security. You are not supposed to be political,” Kennedy told Wray. “You see all this controversy going on, [so] why didn’t the FBI say: ‘Time out, folks. We are not getting in the middle of this, but the laptop is real’?”
Wray responded again that the FBI couldn’t get involved during an election campaign. He made a reference to his predecessor, former FBI Director James Comey, who was criticized for his conduct of investigations before the 2016 election.
“We have to be very careful about what we can say, especially in the middle of an election season because that is precisely what led to my predecessor’s negative findings from the inspector general,” Wray said.
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