Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray unequivocally stated to the House Judiciary Committee on July 12, “absolutely not,” when addressing allegations that his agency is defending President Joe Biden’s family.
The standoff between Wray and Comer
Wray’s remarks come in the wake of a contentious month-long standoff between FBI Director Christopher Wray and House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) regarding a document alleging that Joe Biden, during his tenure as vice president, accepted a multimillion-dollar bribe from a foreign individual.
The impasse finally came to an end when Wray conceded, allowing Republicans on the Oversight panel access to a redacted version of the document in a secure off-site location.
However, this confrontation exacerbated existing tensions within the party, with critics asserting that Wray was shielding the Bidens from scrutiny.
Way dismisses notion Biden is being protected
When pressed by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), a prominent critic of the FBI, Wray firmly dismissed the notion and stated, “Absolutely not. The FBI has no interest in protecting anyone politically.”
The exchange took place in the context of a discussion about a purported text message sent by Hunter Biden to Chinese businessman Henry Zhao, wherein payment was allegedly demanded while invoking Joe Biden’s influence.
Wray chooses his words carefully when questioned
Mr. Gaetz contended that the exchange resembled a shakedown and inquired,
“Sounds like a shakedown, doesn’t it, Director?”
Wray, however, declined to comment on the characterization.
Mr. Gaetz further expressed his dissatisfaction with Wray’s response, suggesting an uncurious demeanor on the part of the FBI director.
Republicans assert that Wray has played a role in a broader effort within the Biden administration to target and suppress conservative voices.
Wray references his stance as a registered Republican
Wray staunchly refuted these claims, responding to Rep. Harriet Hageman (R-Wyo.) by saying,
“The idea that I’m biased against conservatives seems somewhat insane to me, given my own personal background,” highlighting his affiliation as a registered Republican.
Concerns escalated when Rep. Comer and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) disclosed receiving whistleblower information alleging an unclassified record implicating Joe Biden and a foreign individual in a criminal scheme involving money exchanged for policy decisions.
Although FBI investigators reportedly attended a briefing on the record before the 2020 election, no actions were taken, leading to accusations that Wray obstructed Republican efforts to investigate the matter.
FBI’s handling of Hunter Biden laptop saga
Moreover, criticisms intensified as the FBI’s handling of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which contained alleged evidence of various crimes involving Joe Biden, came under scrutiny.
According to IRS whistleblowers, the FBI had verified the authenticity of the laptop before the election.
The allegations of politicization gained further traction following the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Wray defended the raid as a lawful execution of a search warrant when questioned during the hearing.
Wray defends the FBI and its commitment to US citizens
During his opening statement, Wray defended the FBI’s work and its commitment to protecting the American people.
He highlighted the agency’s efforts in apprehending violent criminals, combating child exploitation, intercepting fentanyl traffickers, and countering espionage activities conducted by the Chinese government.
Nevertheless, concerns about the FBI persist, with a particular focus on its handling of surveillance tools such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Looking ahead to the 2024 presidential race, several prominent Republican candidates have expressed their intention to replace Wray as FBI director upon assuming office, including Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, and Nikki Haley.