Aspects of FBI Director Christopher Wray's statements on Tuesday before the House of Representatives have been previously covered. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) was able to nail him on a question Wray was unable to answer regarding FBI agents and/or informants being at the Capitol on January 6. This didn't go over well with Wray.
This Thursday, Wray appeared in front of the Senate, and senators were faced with a few issues that they had to resolve first with him based on his previous presentation before them. In August, Wray refused to stick around for another twenty minutes to address further concerns of Republicans who were on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He told them there was a plane he needed to get on. The ranking member of the Senate, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), disproved that claim, saying Wray traveled on a private aircraft; therefore, why couldn't he sit around for a few minutes? According to reports, Wray stated to Grassley that he was busy with “other business.”
It turns out that “other business” was flying in the private plane that taxpayers pay for to take a vacation at his house located in the Adirondacks. Whoops!
On Thursday, it was Senator Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) first priority to call Wray out for the lies he had told them. “So you left a statutorily required oversight hearing in order to go on a personal vacation in the Adirondacks?” Hawley declared. Take note: as Wray is trying to escape from this situation, insisting that the “other business” he had referenced was something that would be happening the following week, as opposed to the clear discussion cited earlier, misleading Grassley. He left the meeting to go on vacation and avoid twenty minutes of questioning, and he also lied to avoid being caught.
Then Hawley demanded to know whether he had paid for his trip. It's been the custom in the past, regarding personal trips by FBI officials, that they pay taxpayers at the commercial rate. Wray said he had paid for the trip. He also claimed that he was required to fly on that plane.
Then Hawley attacked Wray for what was happening under his nose when he was trying to avoid the oversight and heading off on vacation. Hawley accused him of dispatching more than 12 police officers to the residence of a pro-life activist in order to take him into custody at gunpoint in front of his kids in the early morning hours, even though he had shown no threat of violence and had offered to surrender should the need arise.
Hawley added that whistleblowers have complained that the FBI as well as its Washington Field Office have removed agents from other cases, such as child sex-abuse cases and human trafficking, in order to handle the January 6 cases and provide the “appearance” (according to the whistleblowers) that there were hundreds of new domestic terrorism cases in the pipeline, when there were none. They also expressed concerns about using SWAT teams to investigate non-violent suspects who might have been at the January 6 rally and have been knocking on the doors of those who weren't even there on January 6. All this was to increase the numbers, due to an order from the political establishment, as per whistleblowers.
Hawley stated that whistleblowers claimed that the leadership deliberately blocked investigations of Hunter Biden, contrary to procedures, and he has responded to whistleblowers' complaints about speaking to Congress regarding their concerns. Hawley pointed out that the protection of whistleblowers fell under the law.
“This is what is happening at your FBI while you are evading oversight hearings,” Hawley concluded. He stated that he did not believe Wray was competent enough and should have left in the past. He also stated that there would be another round of questioning and asked if Wray would stay for the second time, an amazing finish.
The Senate Republicans aren't in control of the chamber; however, they, as well as the House, must go after Wray's lies before Congress. That's very crucial. But they also need to investigate his conduct in his own office, which is an even more serious issue — including the broad bias being reported and that we've already witnessed. The FBI has been in a state of disarray for some time. Cleaning up the mess will not be as simple as simply booting Wray out — it will require an extensive house cleaning, which might not be completed until 2024. However, the GOP should do everything it can to keep Wray and the rest of the leadership accountable and safeguard whistleblowers.