FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that President Donald Trump has not directed him to stop Russian efforts to meddle in this year's midterm elections during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on threats to U.S. national security.
“We're taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt Russian efforts,” Wray said during the hearing.
“Were you directed by the president?” Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) asked.
“Not as specifically directed by the president,” the FBI director responded.
Sen. Reed: “Has the president directed you and your agency to take specific actions to confront and blunt Russian influence activities?”
FBI Director Wray: “Not as specifically directed by the president.” pic.twitter.com/agGhVa843e
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) February 13, 2018
Wray was not the only official at the hearing to be questioned about whether or not the president had directed them to end Russian efforts to interfere in future elections.
Reed also asked CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Adm. Mike Rogers, the National Security Agency director, about about Trump's orders, according to The Hill.
The officials all said they had not been given that order from President Trump but said it is understood that the president expects them to do their jobs, which include handling election interference from outside nations.
Fear of Russian meddling in this year's midterms seems to be growing as the elections near.
Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he believed Russia would again attempt to interfere and that the United States must confront the nation about it.
“I think it's important we just continue to say to Russia, 'Look, you think we don't see what you're doing. We do see it, and you need to stop,'” Tillerson said. “'If you don't, you're going to just continue to invite consequences for yourself.'”
Despite this increased worry, the Trump administration elected not to implement additional sanctions on Russia intended to punish the nation for its alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election.
A spokeswoman for the State Department said that the sanctions were no longer needed because the agency felt the legislation itself “served as a deterrent.”
Tensions between the United States and Russia have increased in the last year, though the president continues to deny any possible collusion between his campaign and Russian officials.