by Julie Kelly
It was time for him to fly.
FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first time since July 2021, insisted he had to leave the hearing by 1:30 p.m. sharp. (It began at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday morning.)
Despite leading a scandal-ridden agency quickly losing the trust of the American people and congressional Republicans, Wray somehow believes that setting aside less than four hours to answer questions by lawmakers responsible for checking and balancing his work is sufficient.
“I had a flight that I’m supposed to be high-tailing it to, and I had understood that we were going to be done at 1:30, so that’s how we ended up where we are,” Wray told Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member who asked why the rush. If Wray needed to leave on business, Grassley noted, “you’ve got your own plane,” referring to the taxpayer-funded Gulfstream G550 jet used to ferry the head of the FBI around the country privately.
Wray got his way—the committee wrapped shortly after 1:30 p.m. with no chance for Republicans to ask follow-up questions. It was a symbolic win and another example of how Wray almost always prevails in skirmishes between his agency and members of Congress.
To be fair, an extended appearance only would have resulted in more non-answers and political spin.
Wray, appointed by Donald Trump in 2018, knows a lot about issues that matter to the Biden regime and national news media, such as the imaginary threat of “domestic violent extremists.” But he isn’t so savvy when it comes to issues that matter to Americans, such as a wide-open southern border, exploding crime rates, an aggressive China on the rise, and foreign terrorists who arrived here in the disorderly evacuation of Afghanistan.
Once again, Wray designated the events of January 6 an act of domestic terrorism, bragging that FBI agents so far have arrested and charged more than 850 Americans for their involvement in the mostly nonviolent disturbance that happened over 18 months ago.
“In January, we marked the one-year anniversary of the January 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol, which has led to unprecedented efforts by the Department of Justice, including the FBI, to investigate and hold accountable all who engaged in violence, destruction of property, and other criminal activity on that day,” Wray said in his written statement.
While Wray was eager to boast about his relentless pursuit of Capitol trespassers, he was less than straightforward—one might say he stonewalled—on other issues.
Pressed several times to condemn the situation at the border as a national security threat, Wray repeatedly demurred. The record number of citizens from more than 150 countries who’ve crossed the border is “an eclectic mix of nationalities, and the volume is just staggering,” Wray told Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), a crafty way of portraying the unprecedented and criminal influx of migrants from around the world.
Wray gave the same watered-down response when Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked if the border was a national security threat, instead referring to the situation as a “security issue.”
Wray was similarly evasive when Blackburn asked if Wray believed the Trump-Russia election collusion claims were a “hoax.” “That’s not a term I would use,” Wray replied. Details on the whereabouts of Hunter Biden’s laptop or an explanation as to why his agency warned any reporting on the contents of the device was part of a Russian “disinformation” operation also were off-limits.
Wray had no explanation as to why his department is not enforcing a federal law that protects federal judges; since May, leftwing activist groups have targeted the houses and children of conservative Supreme Court justices after the media published a draft of the Dobbs ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protesters have demonstrated outside the personal residences of both Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. A California man was charged with attempted murder after he was arrested in June outside Kavanaugh’s Maryland home.
That arrest, however, appears to be the only criminal charge associated with a coordinated campaign to intimidate and shame conservative Supreme Court justices, including one group that offers “bounties” for confirmed sightings of conservative justices so they can be harassed in public. So why the foot-dragging?
“Our agents—are up to their necks in enforcing all sorts of laws, uh, and I wish we were in a situation where every federal violation that occurred in this country was something the FBI could have the resources to investigate,” Wray told Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) when asked why the FBI had yet to charge anyone for violating the federal law that bars “picketing and parading” in front of a justice’s home.
Ironically, FBI agents have arrested and charged hundreds of Americans who protested Joe Biden’s election on January 6 on a separate “parading and picketing” offense, many of whom face jail time. Plenty of time and resources to nab selfie-taking Indiana grandmas.
But Wray seemed really flummoxed when confronted about the FBI-concocted plot to kidnap and assassinate Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a clear case of FBI entrapment conceived and executed on his watch. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) read the damning bill of particulars on the case—which included the acquittal of two men in April and mistrial of two other defendants who face a new trial next week—and the dismissal of a lead agent arrested for assaulting his wife in a drunken rage following a swingers party last summer.
Cruz also asked Wray to confirm that the special agent in charge of the FBI Detroit field office during the Whitmer kidnapping caper was then promoted to head of the D.C. FBI field office. Wray unintentionally responded with the most accurate statement of the entire hearing: “That doesn’t seem right to me,” Wray said.
No, it doesn’t seem right, but it is true. Shortly after several men were arrested in the kidnapping scheme in October 2020, Steven D’Antuono was moved to Washington—just a few months before the Capitol protest.
Cruz: “So the guy in charge got promoted and is now in charge of the January 6th investigation?
Wray: “The guy in charge of the whole Detroit field office is now in charge of the whole Washington field office.”
Cruz: “That is astonishing.”
To say the least.
Wray might not want to talk, but whistleblowers inside his department are finally speaking out. Disgruntled agents fed up with the FBI’s politicking and bad reputation have reached out to Grassley and U.S. Representative James Jordan (R-Ohio) in recent months, with more likely to come.
As Senator John Kennedy (R-La.), after reading a series of anti-Trump social media engagements posted by a senior FBI official, warned Wray, “you’re killing yourself with this stuff.”
Republicans pulled plenty of punches on Thursday, but they landed some, too. Wray’s quick exit act, however, cannot be tolerated any longer. Mounting scandals and public safety threats endanger the country, not merely the reputation of the FBI.
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Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of January 6: How Democrats Used the Capitol Protest to Launch a War on Terror Against the Political Right and Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of the “Happy Hour Podcast with Julie and Liz.” She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.
Photo “Christopher Wray” by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).