FBI Director Christopher Wray has only officially held his position as the head of the nation's top law enforcement agency since August 1, but he's already been tossed from the frying pan into the fire.
On Thursday, Wray faced a series of questions during an inquiry before the House Judiciary Committee, as reported by NPR:
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee, where he's expected to face a grilling about the Russia investigation led by Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller as well as a number of other pressing law enforcement issues.
The hearing also comes days after President Trump attacked the FBI on Twitter, saying “its reputation is in Tatters,” citing the agency's investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server under former Director James Comey.
Wray was questioned by several members of the committee, but it was a question from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) that made him snap back.
"My final question is, the president's tirade ended with one final tweet where he says your reputation is in tatters. After years of — well, Director Wray, it's up there, we have heard other veterans of the FBI and the Department of Justice push back against this attack on the reputation of the FBI.
With the time I have — we haven't heard from you, with the time I have left, will you respond to this tweet by the president? Is the FBI's reputation in tatters?"
Wray's immediate reaction:
“Mr. Chairman, may I have time to answer this question? Because it's something that matters to me.”
Once Wray was given permission to go ahead, he really let loose:
"Congressman, there is no shortage of opinions out there. What I can tell you is that the FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran, the FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women who are working as hard as they can to keep people that they will never know safe from harm.
And the FBI that I see is reflected in folks like the new class of agents that I swore in at Quantico two days ago, hard-charging, high-integrity people, people like the hostage rescue team and SWAT teams we send out into all sorts of danger with no notice.
The FBI I see is people, decent people, committed to the highest principles of integrity and professionalism and respect.
The FBI that I see is respected and appreciated by our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement in the intelligence community, by our foreign counterparts in both law enforcement and national security and something like 200 countries around the globe, that's the FBI that I see."
Wray clarified by saying that didn't mean that he believed the FBI to be perfect or infallible:
“Now, do we make mistakes? You bet we make mistakes — like everybody who is human makes mistakes. And when we make mistakes, there are independent processes like that of the outside independent inspector general that will drive and dive deep into the facts surrounding those mistakes, and when that independent fact-finding is complete, we will hold our folks accountable if that's appropriate.”
There you have it.