Jul 13, 2023

FBI Director Christopher Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Transcript

FBI Director Christopher Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsChristopher WrayFBI Director Christopher Wray Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee Transcript

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the House Judiciary Committee answering questions focused on the oversight of the FBI. Read the transcript here.

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Mr. Jordan (00:00:00):

… companies that the Biden laptop story was real and not Russian disinformation is particularly troubling. The FBI had the laptop in their possession since December, 2019 and had warned social media companies repeatedly to look out for “hack and dump” operation by the Russians prior to the 2020 election. Even after Facebook specifically asked whether the laptop story was Russian disinformation, the FBI refused to comment resulting in social media company’s suppression of this story and as a result, millions, millions of our fellow citizens did not hear the story prior to the November 3rd, 2020 election. Additionally, the FBI was included in industry meetings, bilateral meetings received and forwarded alleged misinformation to social media companies and actually misled companies in regard to the laptop story. When the court says the FBI misled, that’s a nice way of saying they lied. They lied and as a result, important information was kept from we the people days before the most important election we have, election of President of the United States, election of the commander in chief. In a survey last fall, four out of five Americans said they believe there’s a two-tiered system of justice in America today. They said that because there is. They said that because of what they’ve witnessed. Think about what Americans have seen. National School Board Association, left wing political group, writes the White House and asked them to treat parents at school board meetings as terrorists and the Garland Justice Department does just that. They put together a memo, set up a dedicated line of threat communication, a snitch line on parents. As a result, parents get investigated by our FbI, get a threat tag associated with their name, 25 of them because whistleblowers came and told us were investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Americans have seen the FBI’s Richmond Field Office put together a memorandum saying, Pro-life Catholics are extremists. They’ve seen 20 FBI agents, SWAT team members show up at the home of Mark Houck and arrest him in front of his wife and seven children even though he had indicated he’d be happy to turn himself in and what was he arrested for? Him and his 12-year-old son were praying outside an abortion facility. Some guy starts screaming in his son face and he did what frankly any dad would do, defended his child. What’s interesting is the National School Board Association apologized for the letter, but the Attorney General refuses to rescind his directive. The FBI did resend, thank goodness the Richmond Catholic Memorandum, but they refuse to tell Congress who wrote it and who approved it and Mr. Houck, when he got his day in court, he was acquitted by a jury of his peers.


American speech is censored. Parents are called terrorists. Catholics are called radicals and I haven’t even talked about the spying that took place of a presidential campaign or the raiding of a former president’s home, but maybe what’s more frightening is what happens if you come forward and tell Congress. If you’re a whistleblower, come tell the legislature, come tell the Congress what’s going on. Look out. You will be retaliated against. Ask Garrett o’ Boyle who told Congress about these issues. Took his clearance, they took his pay, they took his kids clothes. Ask Gary Shapley. 14 year veteran at the IRS, handled some of the biggest international tax fraud cases at the agency. He comes forward and the Justice Department kicks him off the case, but here’s what’s truly unbelievable, here’s what’s amazing, with all that history, with all that, the Justice Department, the FBI want the taxpayers they censored the parents they labeled, the pro-life Catholics they called radical, they want them to pay for a new FBI headquarters and they want Pfizer reauthorization of the 702 program in its current form, it’s in the director’s opening statement.


I mean you can’t make this stuff up. There are 204,000 reasons why Republicans will oppose Pfizer reauthorization in its current form. 204,000 times the FBI improperly searched the 702 database and unlike the FBI censorship, in the court’s opinion that was focused on conservatives, the FBI’s illegal scrutiny wasn’t just limited to conservatives. BLM supporters were illegally scrutinized by the FBI as well and I hope our Democrat friends will join us in opposing reauthorization of Section 702 the way it’s currently done and I think they will and I hope they will work with us in the appropriations process to stop the weaponization of the government against the American people and in this double standard that exists now in our justice system. That I yield to the gentleman from New York for an opening statement.

Mr. Nadler (00:05:21):

Mr. Chairman, not that long ago an oversight hearing of the FBI in this committee would’ve been a relatively bipartisan exercise. My colleagues on both sides of the aisle would’ve asked legitimate questions about the functioning and mission of the Bureau. Some of the questions may have been tough. Debate may have gotten a little heated when we discussed important topics like privacy and discrimination, but our questioning would’ve been grounded in advancing and overseeing the FBI’s dual missions of enforcing federal laws, encountering national security threats on American soil. In short, despite our disagreements, we would have done our duty as members of the Judiciary Committee. Today, unfortunately, house Republicans will fall well short of that mark. For them, this hearing is little more than performance art. It is an elaborate show designed with only two purposes in mind, to protect Donald Trump from the consequences of his actions, and to return him to the White House in the next election.


Don’t take my word for it. Chairman Jordan announced his plan last August, just days after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. He told an audience at CPAC the Conservative Political Action Conference that the investigation into Trump’s wrongdoing was designed to, “Help frame up the 2024 race when I hope and I think President Trump is going to run again and we need to make sure that he wins.” Let me repeat that, “We need to make sure that he wins.” In pursuit of this goal, Chairman Jordan and committee Republicans have claimed for months that the FBI is corrupt, rotten, politicized, and their favorite word weaponized against the American people. Chairman Jordan has launched an array of baseless investigations into the FBI most premised on absurd conspiracy theories some so absurd that the chairman cannot possibly believe them to be true, but this is where the extreme MAGA leadership of this Congress has brought us today.


Today house Republicans will attack the FBI for having had the audacity to treat Donald Trump like any other citizen. The strategy is simple really, when in doubt Chairman Jordan investigates the investigators. The FBI dared to hold Trump accountable so Republicans must discredit the FBI at all costs. You’ll hear claims today that the FBI’s decision to investigate Donald Trump was somehow unfair. You’ll hear the Republicans attack the indictment of former President Trump on 37 counts related to his gross mishandling of national security information including information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries, United States nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack. The facts are made clear in the indictment, “The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States foreign relations, the safety of the United States military and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.”


Indeed the indictment goes on to describe how the former president made such unauthorized disclosures with him boasting about and showing his classified documents to numerous individuals without proper security clearance. You’ll hear claims today that this indictment against Trump was unfair, maybe even that it was unlawful. You’ll hear that the FBI should have just asked Trump a little more nicely, one more time to hand over the documents. You’ll hear that the case was a political investigation from the start orchestrated by a liberal loving FBI that ensured Trump would be wrongfully vilified at every turn. These claims of course are completely untethered from the evidence. Even if you believe as Chairman Jordan claims that President Trump has committed no crime, surely we can agree that it is dangerous and profoundly irresponsible to have taken these documents from the White House and left them unsecured in Mar-a-Lago.


Again, don’t take just my word for it, Trump’s secretary of defense, Mark Esper said that the former president’s handling of this information put US service members’ lives in the national security at risk and Trump’s handpicked Attorney General Bill Barr, with whom I agree on very little, hit the nail on the head when he described the former president’s legal troubles as “Entirely of his own making, he had no right to those documents. The government tried for over a year quietly and with respect to get them back and he jerked them around. When he faced a subpoena, he didn’t raise any legal arguments. He engaged in the course of deceitful conduct. There was a clear crime crime if those allegations are true.” The former president could have at any time for months simply return the documents and avoided prosecution, but house Republicans do not want to talk about any of that.


They seem incapable of assigning any agency or responsibility to Donald Trump for problems that are Trump’s and Trump’s alone. You might hear today about a man named Steven D’Antuono, the former special agent in charge of the Washington Field Office during the investigation into the documents. Last month, committee Republicans brought him in for an interview and shortly after that Chairman Jordan released a letter purporting to describe Mr. D’Antuono’s testimony. In fact, Chairman Jordan’s summary of Mr. D’Antuono’s words are a vast mischaracterization of what he actually said. Here’s just one example. Chairman Jordan has claimed that Mr. D’Antuono said he had, “no idea” why the Mar-a-Lago investigation was run out of the FBI’s Washington Field Office instead of the Miami Field Office. What the chairman hides is that just seconds later, Mr. D’Antuono explained that “the venue was here,” meaning Washington, DC for the classified documents, that it was, “not out of the ordinary” for Washington to be lead office running the investigation and said that Washington has “most experienced and knowledge” in working public corruption cases and are “the experts” in classified document investigations.


Mr. Jordan did not share the full record with the American public because it does not fit his chosen narrative. My staff has worked to have a minimally redacted version of Mr. D’Antuono’s full testimony released and they urge you to read the words for yourself in their entirety. When you compare his actual words to Mr. Jordan’s characterization, you’ll understand why I feel like this hearing room has become a theater and frankly that goes for many things that we will hear from the Republicans today. You can expect to hear that the FBI is retaliating against its conservative employees and has a deep-seated conspiracy to support liberal candidates in ideology. These claims are based on the words of several individuals, people Republicans are somewhat laughably calling whistleblowers. In fact, evidence shows that these individuals were suspended for violating serious FBI policies. One provided an unauthorized interview to Russian state owned media.


Another leaked information about an ongoing investigation placing FBI agents and witnesses at risk and another said that he wanted to use a senior FBI official as “target practice”. Chairman Jordan invited some of these so-called whistleblowers to testify before the weaponization subcommittee in May. As it turns out, two of the witnesses were ultimately paid $250,000 each for their testimony. Money raised in part by former Trump Aid Cash Patel and paid via a check was memo reads “for holding the line” and yet Republicans today will try to claim that it is the FBI not these witnesses who are somehow corrupt. Republicans today will also attack President Biden starting with the IRS investigation into Hunter Biden. They will ignore the fact that US attorney David Weiss had the authority to bring charges in any district he sought fit and was able to operate fully free of interference.


They do not want to acknowledge that despite years of investigations, President Biden has not been found to have engaged in any wrongdoing. Instead, they’ll try to convince you that Hunter Biden would’ve been charged with far more serious crimes had it not been for us Attorney Weiss being blocked by the Biden political machine. Once again, when they do not like the outcome, they investigate the investigators and work to discredit the outcome and Republicans will make false claims about the FBI’s foreign influence task force claiming that it is somehow censoring conservatives. In fact, the task force plays a key role in making sure that Russia, China, Iran, and other foreign entities cannot again interfere in our elections. According to committee Republicans, the task force’s efforts to track and prevent foreign influence operations amount to attacks on conservative speech. A nonsensical claim considering that the foreign influence task force has nothing to do with censoring American free speech and in fact helps to ensure that American voices are heard by stopping Russian troll farms.


Make no mistake in making these claims, Republicans have all but rolled out the red carpet and begged Russia to once again interfere in our elections because they believe that doing so will get Trump reelected in 2024 and that is the goal of Republicans today. Republican claims that the FBI has been weaponized their personal attacks on Director Wray, their repeated calls to “defund the FBI” these are not victimless acts. They’re a clarion call to anti-government extremists and that call is being heard. Last year, Director Wray faced multiple credible death threats. FBI employees faced more threats in the months after the Mar-a-Lago search than they had in the entire prior year. The problem has gotten so bad that FBI has had to stand up an entire new unit dedicated to combating threats to FBI agents and staff.


It is far past time that Republicans realize the consequences of their actions. Republicans may want to downplay Trump’s behavior and blame the FBI for his downfall, but no matter what they say, Trump risked the safety and security of the United States to remove those documents from the White House then lied to the government instead of returning them. Donald Trump must be held accountable and attempts to shield him from the consequences of his own actions are both transparent and despicable. Ultimately, no matter how many times Republicans attack Director Wray or the FBI or the investigation at Mar-a-Lago, I trust in the rule of law. Mr. Trump will have his day in court. I believe the system will hold him accountable and I thank the men and women of the FBI who helped bring the classified information to safety and protect the national security of our nation. Thank you for being here today Director Wray. I hope your agents will not be disheartened by what they hear today and will continue this kind of work essential to the safety of our nation. I thank the chairman and I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (00:16:49):

Gentleman yields back. Just for the record, the pronunciation of the former assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office is D’Antuono something that ranking member might have known if he’d actually shown up at the deposition like I did. With that we without objection all other opening statements will be included in the record. We will now introduce today’s witnesses, the Honorable Christopher Wray has been the director of the FBI since 2017. He previously served as the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General and Associate Deputy Attorney General and as Assistant US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. Director Wray has also worked in private practice at King Spalding LLP. We welcome our witness and thank him for appearing today.


We will begin by swearing you in. Director, would you please rise, raise your right hand, you’ve done this before. Do you swear or affirm under penalty or perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is true and correct to the best of your knowledge, information and beliefs so help you God? Let the record show that the witness answered in the affirmative. Please know that your written testimony will be entered into the record in its entirety. Accordingly, we ask that you summarize your testimony in five minutes. We’ll give you a few extra minutes if you like director and then you know how this works, will be five minutes of questioning and my guess is every single member’s going to have questions for you. So again, thank you for being here Director Wray, you’re recognized for your opening statement.

Director Wray (00:18:06):

Thank you. Good morning Chairman Jordan, ranking member Nadler members of the committee in the time that I have, before we get to your questions, I want to talk about the sheer breadth and impact of the work the FBI’s 38,000 employees are doing each and every day. Because the work the men and women of the FBI do to protect the American people goes way beyond the one or two investigations that seem to capture all the headlines. Take violent crime, last year alone, working shoulder to shoulder with our partners in state and local law enforcement, the FBI arrested more than 20,000 violent criminals and child predators. That’s an average of almost 60 bad guys taken off the streets per day every day or our work going after the cartels exploiting our southwest border to traffic fentanyl and other dangerous drugs into communities nationwide.


The FBI’s running well over 300 investigations targeting the leadership of those cartels and working with our partners. We’ve already seized hundreds of kilograms of fentanyl this year alone, stopping deadly drugs from reaching their intended destinations in states all over the country in saving countless American lives or the thousands of active investigations we now have into the Chinese government’s efforts to steal our most precious secrets, rob our businesses of their ideas and innovation and repress freedom of speech right here in the United States and that is just scratching the surface. The men and women of the FBI work tirelessly every day to protect the American people from what is really a staggering array of threats and we don’t do that work alone. The FBI now leads more than 750 task forces nationwide made up of more than 6,000 state and local task force officers or TFOs as we call them, from more than 1800 different state and local agencies.


Each of those TFOs represents an officer, a deputy or an investigator that a local police chief sheriff or state superintendent was willing to send our way. Certainly not because they didn’t have enough work to do in their own department, but because they saw the tremendous value that our FBI led task forces bring and we are honored and humbled by their trust in us and grateful for their partnership, but the numbers don’t tell the whole story. To truly appreciate the impact the FBI and our partners are having, you got to look at the cases. Just last month for instance, the FBI charged 31 members of two drug trafficking organizations responsible for distributing dangerous drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, and methamphetamine throughout the area around Marion, Ohio. In that one investigation run out of the FBI’s two man office in Mansfield, we worked with partners from multiple local police departments and sheriff’s offices to take kilos of fentanyl off Marion streets.


Enough lethal doses I should add to kill the entire population of Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati combined. It’s a great example of how even a small office with a small personnel footprint, the FBI’s working big cases hand in hand with our state and local partners to have an outsized impact in our communities. The FBI’s got thousands of employees working scores of investigations like that all over the country to protect the American people. Those men and women who choose to dedicate their careers, their lives really to this kind of work and fulfilling the FBI mission are inspiring. At a time when so many other law enforcement agencies have had a difficult time with recruiting and retention, the bureau continues to attract applicants in near record numbers. In fact, after the first couple years of my tenure, the number of Americans applying to be special agents tripled the pace from when I started reaching the highest levels in about a decade. At the same time, inside the FBI, our special agent attrition has remained in the low single digits and would be the envy of almost any employer and even with these bigger numbers, the folks we’re continuing to add continue to be top-notch. The percentage of both veterans and special agent hires with prior law enforcement experience has remained as steady as ever between 25 and 30%. Add to that, in a job market where applicants have a whole lot of other opportunities, the percentage of those new agent trainees that also have advanced degrees is up and now approaches about 50% of every class at Quantico, but the thing that unites them all is a commitment to public service, a willingness to put others above themselves and that is true from the bottom of the organization to the top.


Since becoming director, I have worked hard to assemble and cultivate a leadership team that embodies those values and characteristics. It’s a team that I purposefully chose because they walk to the walk out in the field. Just taking our top eight leaders as an example, they all came up through the bureau as line agents. They’ve worked in 21 different field offices and have a combined 130 years of field experience. They include a West Point grade veterans of the Army, Air Force, and Marines as well as a former police officer and state trooper and not a single one is a political appointee, not one.


Today’s FBI leaders reflect the best of our organization. An organization that is made up of 38,000 men and women who are patriots, professionals, and dedicated public servants and that is the real FBI. I’ve now visited every single one of our 56 field offices twice, some of them more than twice. I speak constantly with local chiefs and sheriffs from all 50 states who work closely with us every day, with judges coast to coast who see and hear our work up close, with business leaders who turn to us for help with cyber attacks and Chinese economic espionage, with victims and their families, people that we protect from gangs and predators and the FBI they tell me about consistently, almost resoundingly is the same FBI that I see. An FBI that is respected, appreciated, trusted, and that is there for them when they need us the most and that is the FBI that inspires me and that I’m proud to be here today to represent. Thank you.

Mr. Jordan (00:25:19):

We thank you. We’ll now proceed under the five-minute rule with questions. The chair recognized the gentleman from Louisiana, Mr. Johnson.

Mr. Johnson (00:25:28):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, this is no time to mince words. The American people have lost faith in the FBI. All of our constituents are demanding that we get this situation under control and we have to do that. That’s our responsibility. This is not a political party issue sir. This is about whether the very system of justice in our country can be trusted anymore. Without that, no republic can survive. See, the American people that we represent are losing count of the scandals that are mounting. The FBI has been involved, they’ve seen evidence that it’s being used as a political tool of the Biden administration. They’ve seen counter-terrorism resources being used against school parents, the homes of conservative political opponents being raided. They’ve seen conservative states being targeted over their election integrity laws and conservative Catholics and pro-life citizens characterized as violent extremists.


Just last month, as you know, former special counsel John Durham sat right in that seat and testified that the Justice Department and the FBI should never have launched the bogus Trump Russia investigation and his lengthy report reluctantly concluded that the FBI, “Failed to uphold its mission of strict fidelity to the law.” Just last week, NBC had a poll. Only 37% of registered voters now view the FBI positively. 35% have a negative view. In 2018 by comparison, 52% of the country had a positive view of the FBI. There’s a serious decline in the people’s faith and it’s on your watch sir.


And then July 4th we had this explosive explosive 155 page opinion from a federal court in my home state of Louisiana. It explains in detail that the FBI has been directly involved in what the court says is, “Arguably the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” The court ordered the White House DOJ and FBI among others to immediately cease colluding with and coercing social media companies to suppress American speech. Of course, conservative speech in particular. Director Wray, I find it stunning. You made no mention of this court opinion either in your opening statement today or in this lengthy 14 page report that you prepared on July 12th, which is eight days after the court ruling. Have you read the ruling sir?

Director Wray (00:27:33):

I am familiar with the ruling and I’ve reviewed it with our office of general counsel.

Mr. Johnson (00:27:38):

Are you deeply disturbed by what they’ve told you about the ruling if you haven’t read it yourself?

Director Wray (00:27:43):

Obviously we’re going to comply with the court’s order, the court’s preliminary injunction. We sent out guidance to the field and the headquarters about how to do that. Needless to say, the injunction itself is a subject of ongoing litigation and so I’ll decline to comment further on-

Mr. Johnson (00:27:59):

Well, let me tell you what the court concluded because it should be the first thing you think about every morning and the last thing you think about at night. They said that, “The court found apparently the FBI engaged in a massive effort to suppress disfavor conservative speech and blatantly ignored the First Amendment’s right to free speech.” The evidence shows the FBI threatened adverse consequences to social media companies that they did not comply with its censorship requests. The court found that, “This seemingly unrelenting pressure by the FBI and the other defendants had the intended result of suppressing millions of protected free speech postings by American citizens.” As a result, the court states, for example, millions of citizens did not hear about the Hunter Biden laptop story prior to the November 3rd, 2020 election.


Page four of the court ruling lists some of the important subjects that the Biden administration and the FBI forced the social media platforms to suppress. The evidence shows you your agency, the people that directly report to you, suppressed conservative leaning free speech about topics like the laptop, the lab leak theory of COVID-19’s origin, the effectiveness of mask and COVID-19 lockdowns and vaccines, speech about election integrity in the 2020 presidential election, security of voting by mail, even parody about the president himself. Negative post about the economy, the FBI made the social media platforms pull that information off the internet if it came from conservative source, they did this under the guise that it was disinformation. Can you define what disinformation is?

Director Wray (00:29:27):

What I can tell you is that our focus is not on disinformation, broadly speaking-

Mr. Johnson (00:29:31):

Well, wait a minute, yes it is. Wait a minute, you’re-

Director Wray (00:29:32):

Can I answer the question?

Mr. Johnson (00:29:33):

You can in a minute. Your star witness said in the litigation, Elvis Chan who’s in charge of this said they do it on the basis of disinformation. We need a definition of what that is.

Director Wray (00:29:43):

Our focus is on malign foreign disinformation, that is foreign hostile actors who engage in covert efforts to abuse-

Mr. Johnson (00:29:50):

Mr. Wray.

Director Wray (00:29:51):

Our social media platforms, which is something that is not seriously in dispute-

Mr. Johnson (00:29:55):

I have to stop you for time. That’s not accurate. You need to read this court opinion because you’re in charge of enforcing it. The court has found that, and Elvis Chan testified under oath in charge of this for you. He said 50%, he had a 50% success rate in having alleged election disinformation taken down or censored. That wasn’t just for an adversary, sir, that was American citizens. How do you answer for that?

Director Wray (00:30:18):

Well, first off, I’m not sure that’s a correct characterization-

Mr. Johnson (00:30:20):

Comes right out of the opinion, you should read it.

Director Wray (00:30:23):

Of his testimony, but what I would say is the FBI is not in the business of moderating content or causing any social media company to suppress or censor-

Mr. Johnson (00:30:33):

That is not what the court has found.

Director Wray (00:30:35):

What I would also say is among the things that you listed off, I find ironic, the reference to the lab leak theory, the idea that the FBI would somehow be involved in suppressing references to the lab leak theory is somewhat absurd when you consider the fact that the FBI was the only, the only agency in the entire intelligence community to reach the assessment, that it was more likely than not that that was the explanation for the pandemic.

Mr. Johnson (00:31:04):

Your agents pulled it off the internet sir, that’s what the evidence in the court has found.

Mr. Jordan (00:31:08):

Time for the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from New York is recognized.

Mr. Nadler (00:31:14):

Director Wray, house Republicans have attacked the execution of the search warrant of Mar-a-Lago last August as a “unprecedented raid”, would you consider the execution of the search warrant at Mar Mar-a-Lago a raid?

Director Wray (00:31:27):

I would not call it a raid. I would call it the execution of a lawful search warrant.

Mr. Nadler (00:31:31):

Can you describe how the search was executed?

Director Wray (00:31:35):

Well, we had the case team follow its standard procedure. It has sometimes been described as a SWAT operation. It was not. There was no SWAT involvement, but beyond that, I think I want to be really careful with getting too far into the details now that this case is not only in the hands of a special counsel, but more importantly in my view, in front of the court, and I learned a long time ago as a line prosecutor and defense lawyer to respect the court process is where I think we should speak.

Mr. Nadler (00:32:05):

Were particular steps taken to ensure that the execution of the search warrant did not draw undue attention?

Director Wray (00:32:12):

I think there were steps along those lines, yes sir.

Mr. Nadler (00:32:14):

Can you name a couple of them?

Director Wray (00:32:16):

Well, among other things we did not have people coming in so-called raid jackets, which is often something you would see.

Mr. Nadler (00:32:24):

So in other words, the FBI agents executing the search wore plain clothes so as not to attract undue attention. The FBI waited until Trump had left Mar-a-Lago to execute the search. Is that correct?

Director Wray (00:32:35):


Mr. Nadler (00:32:36):

And Chairman Jordan has attacked the DOJ and the FBI for not attempting to get the documents back from Trump consensually before turning to a search warrant. I want to walk through all the opportunities Trump had to produce these documents and have a series of yes or no questions. The National Archives also known as NARA first asked Trump to return all presidential records to them in May, 2021, correct?

Director Wray (00:33:00):

Well, I don’t remember the date, but I remember there was a request by the National Archives.

Mr. Nadler (00:33:04):

Okay, and then throughout 2021, NARA made repeated follow-up requests, but still Trump replied to comply. Correct?

Director Wray (00:33:11):

Yes. I would refer you to the pleadings that have been filed in court that lay out in better detail than I could here.

Mr. Nadler (00:33:17):

In fact, it was not until January, 2022 after NARA warned Trump that failing to return documents could violate the Presidential Records Act that Trump finally produced 15 boxes of documents to it, correct?

Director Wray (00:33:30):

Again, I would just refer to our court filings which go into great detail about all this.

Mr. Nadler (00:33:34):

And even these 15 boxes did not contain all the documents Trump was required to return, correct?

Director Wray (00:33:40):

That’s my recollection, but again I’ll refer you to the filings.

Mr. Nadler (00:33:42):

So in May, 2022, a grand jury had to actually subpoena Trump for the missing documents, correct?

Director Wray (00:33:49):

Same answer.

Mr. Nadler (00:33:51):

And Trump was then present on June 3rd when his attorneys handed over another folder of documents and a certification that all classified material had been returned, correct?

Director Wray (00:34:00):

Again, I just want to stick with what’s in the court filings. That sounds right to me, but I really want to be careful to stay within the four corners-

Mr. Nadler (00:34:06):

But the certification was false, right? Even then, Trump had not returned all classified material, correct?

Director Wray (00:34:13):

I think that is part of the indictment.

Mr. Nadler (00:34:15):

He had additional documents hiding in his bathroom in his storage units, et cetera, yes?

Director Wray (00:34:21):

Again, I think that’s part of the indictment.

Mr. Nadler (00:34:23):

And so finally, DOJ and FBI were required to obtain a search warrant to obtain the classified documents that had not been retained, correct?

Director Wray (00:34:31):

Same answer.

Mr. Nadler (00:34:32):

The documents retrieved during that search included 69 marked confidential, 98 secret, and 30 top secret. Is that correct?

Director Wray (00:34:41):

Same answer.

Mr. Nadler (00:34:42):

So to sum up, President Trump had many, many chances to voluntarily comply with FBI and DOJ’S request. Instead, he made the choice to keep these highly classified defense and national security documents apparently because he wanted a souvenir. I find myself in the strange position of agreeing

Mr. Nadler (00:35:00):

Agreeing with former Attorney General Bill Barr’s statement that Trump brought this on himself. And I would add that it’s absurd that House Republicans are attacking the FBI and DOJ for doing their job and ensuring that no person is above the law. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (00:35:16):

Gentlemen yields back. The gentleman from Kentucky’s recognized for five minutes.

Mr. Massie (00:35:19):

I thank the Chairman. Director Wray, in light of information provided to us about the FBI’s investigation of the January 6th pipe bombs, in an interview with Assistant Director Steven D’Antuono, Chairman Jordan and I sent you a letter a month ago. Some of the information that we found in that interview was that phone data that could have helped to identify the pipe bomber was corrupted, was unusable. He also wasn’t sure who found or how the second bomb was found at the DNC. Do you know how the second bomb was found at the DNC? And when do you plan on answering our letter?

Director Wray (00:35:59):

Well, as to the letter, I will work with the department to make sure we can figure out what information we can provide. As you know, this is a very active ongoing investigation, and there are some restrictions on that, but we will do our best to respond.

Mr. Massie (00:36:11):

Yes, we can handle classified information. And we fund your department, and so you need to provide that.

Director Wray (00:36:16):

Respectfully, it’s not an issue of classification. It’s an issue of commenting on ongoing criminal investigations, which is something that by longstanding department policy, we are restricted in doing. And in fact, the last administration actually strengthened those policies partly because-

Mr. Massie (00:36:33):

That’s not our policy though. And we fund you, so let’s move on.

Director Wray (00:36:36):

If I could-

Mr. Massie (00:36:36):

Do you know how the second pipe bomb-

Director Wray (00:36:37):

Just that it’s partly because-

Mr. Massie (00:36:38):

Do you … Can you tell us how the second pipe bomb was found at the DNC?

Director Wray (00:36:42):

Again, I’m not going to get into that here.

Mr. Massie (00:36:44):

900 days ago is when this happened. And you said you had total confidence we’d apprehended the subject. We’ve found video that looks like somebody, a passerby, miraculously found this pipe bomb at the DNC and then notified the police. Miraculously I say because it was at specifically the same … The precise time to cause the maximum distraction from the events going on at the Capitol. Can you show this video that we have, please? I’d like to know if the Director has seen this.


This is somebody with a mask on, wearing a hat. They’re walking in front of the DNC, which is out of the view on the right-hand side. You’ll see him come into view. He goes to one police car. He goes to another police car. He’s holding a backpack. He’s got a mask on. He’s talking to the police. And within a minute, they start scrambling. You’ll see the camera turn to the pipe bomb, the location of the pipe bomb. By the way, that’s the … I believe the metro police are now getting out of their car.


And that’s Vice President-elect’s detail in the black SUV, I believe, parked about 30 feet from the pipe bomb eating lunch. Now we go over to the location of the pipe bomb. The cameras are scrambling. It appears to me that that’s not a coincidence that the person with the backpack who walked by that bench and then went up to the police and the detail didn’t do that accidentally. They had a purpose in mind. And that what transpired after that was the result of information that person gave to them. If that person found the pipe bomb, would they be a suspect?

Director Wray (00:38:26):

Well, again, I don’t want to speculate about specific individuals. I will tell you that we have done thousands of interviews, reviewed something like 40,000 video files of which this is one, says 500 something tips.

Mr. Massie (00:38:41):

Have you interviewed that person?

Director Wray (00:38:42):

Reviewed the devices. We have conducted all logical investigative steps and interviewed all logical individuals at this point.

Mr. Massie (00:38:50):

Then you need … It’s 900 days.

Director Wray (00:38:50):


Mr. Massie (00:38:51):

You need to tell us what you found because we’re finding stuff you haven’t released into the public. And in my remaining minute, I want to turn to another issue. George Hill, former FBI supervisory intelligence analyst in the Boston Field Office, told us that the Bank of America, with no legal process was … Gave to the FBI gun purchase records with no geographical boundaries for anybody that was a Bank of America customer. Is that true?

Director Wray (00:39:24):

Well, what I do know is that the … A number of business community partners all the time, including financial institutions, share information with us about possible criminal activity. And my understanding is that that’s fully lawful in the specific-

Mr. Massie (00:39:39):

Did you ask for that information?

Director Wray (00:39:42):

In the specific instance that you’re asking about, my understanding is that that information was shared with Field Offices for information only, but then recalled to avoid even the appearance of any kind of overreach. But my understanding is that that’s a fully lawful process.

Mr. Massie (00:39:58):

Was there a warrant involved?

Director Wray (00:40:01):

Again, my understanding is that the institution in question shared information with us as happens all the time. [inaudible 00:40:09].

Mr. Massie (00:40:08):

Did you request the information?

Director Wray (00:40:10):

I can’t speak to the specifics.

Mr. Massie (00:40:12):

Well, we’ve got an email where it says the FBI did give the search queries to Bank of America and Bank of America responded to the FBI and gave over this information without a search warrant. Do you believe there’s any limitation on your ability to obtain gun purchase data or purchase information from people that … For people who aren’t suspects from banks without a warrant?

Director Wray (00:40:36):

Well, now you’re asking a legal question, which I would prefer to defer to the lawyers since I’m not practicing as one right now, including the department. But what I will tell you is that my understanding is that the process by which we receive information from business community partners across a wide variety of industries, including financial institutions sharing information with us about possible criminal activity, is something that is fully lawful under current federal law.

Mr. Massie (00:41:03):

It may be lawful, but it’s not constitutional. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (00:41:06):

Gentlemen yields back. The gentle lady from California is recognized for five minutes.

Ms. Lofgren (00:41:11):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you, Director Wray, for being here. I think it’s actually sad that the majority is engaging in conspiracy theories and efforts to try and discredit one of the premier law enforcement agencies in the United States in the effort to try and, without really any evidence, make the case that the FBI is somehow opposed to conservative views. In my view, actually, I’m concerned that the FBI has been reluctant to do its job when it comes to the former President. I’d like to ask unanimous consent to put in the record an article from the Washington Post. FBI resisted opening probe into Trump’s role in January 6th for more than a year.

Mr. Jordan (00:42:07):

[inaudible 00:42:07] objection.

Ms. Lofgren (00:42:08):

Director Wray, would you disagree with the premise of this article that the FBI delayed in looking at Mr. Trump himself? The January 6th committee, and I was a member, did find that the ex-President was the center of a wide-ranging conspiracy to overturn the election. Did the FBI start looking right after January 6th at the ex-President?

Director Wray (00:42:37):

I’m sorry, I just lost the last part of your question there.

Ms. Lofgren (00:42:39):

Did the FBI start looking at the ex-President’s role in January 6th, starting January 7th or closely to that time?

Director Wray (00:42:50):

Well, let me start with, I’m not in the business of commenting or engaging on the truth or falsity of newspaper articles. And in this particular instance, as I’m sure you can appreciate, there is an ongoing, very important ongoing special counsel investigation that’s now in court. And so not only do I not want to talk about the ongoing investigation-

Ms. Lofgren (00:43:13):

I respect-

Director Wray (00:43:13):

… the internal deliberations related to it are even more sensitive.

Ms. Lofgren (00:43:16):

I respect that you cannot discuss ongoing investigations. Let me turn to another item. There’s been criticism, and the ranking member went through the scenario leading up to the warrant for the documents at Mar-a-Lago, but I’d like to ask unanimous consent to put an article from the Washington Post. Showdown before the raid. FBI agents and prosecutors argued over Trump.

Mr. Jordan (00:43:45):


Ms. Lofgren (00:43:47):

It’s pretty clear from this article that there was a resistance on the part of the FBI to actually look at the President or pursue that case vigorously. And although you can’t comment on it, the article does suggest that FBI agents want to disclose the case because the ex-President made an assertion that a search had been made. Now, we had Mr. D’Antuono in as a witness, and he testified four times that the Mar-a-Lago search had adequate probable cause. Do you agree with that statement?

Director Wray (00:44:29):

That the search had probable cause?

Ms. Lofgren (00:44:31):


Director Wray (00:44:31):


Ms. Lofgren (00:44:32):

Thank you. And so you don’t have any dispute that there was probable cause for this warrant? I just want to say before going to my next question that over and over again the FBI delayed and showed unprecedented caution before investigating the ex-President even when there was a potential threat to national security. That’s my view. That’s very far from the assertion that there was unfair targeting. Let me ask-

Director Wray (00:45:03):

Can I just … can I … On that point, if I may, while I can’t discuss any specific investigation, my expectation for all of our investigations, repeatedly communicated to all of our people, and this is especially important in sensitive investigations, is that our folks take great pains to be rigorous, professional, objective, following all our policies and procedures, and do the work in the right way. And sometimes that’s frustrating to others.

Ms. Lofgren (00:45:31):

My time is almost up. I want to ask you another question. In the Senate hearing in response to Senator Wyden’s question of whether the FBI is currently purchasing Americans’ location data, you indicated that it was limited to data derived from internet advertising. It’s since been reported that the FBI has admitted it bought US location data. Is the FBI purchasing location data from commercial= sources without a warrant?

Director Wray (00:46:09):

This is an area that requires a little more precision and context for me to be able to answer that fully, so let my … Have my staff follow back up with you so that I make sure that I don’t leave something important out.

Ms. Lofgren (00:46:20):

I’ll just close with the FBI had 3.4 million backdoor searches of the FISA database without a warrant in 2021. Can you say whether the FBI is continuing to search the FISA database without a warrant for Americans?

Director Wray (00:46:41):

Well, if you’re asking about our use of 702 queries-

Ms. Lofgren (00:46:45):

I am.

Director Wray (00:46:45):

… those are … There is no warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment for those queries. That’s fairly well settled. The 3.4 million figure that you’re talking about, I guess I would say a couple of things. One, that’s not 3.4 million people. That’s 3.4 million search terms or query terms. Second, that’s not a … Those are not queries in violation of rules. Those are just queries under the [inaudible 00:47:12] procedure.

Ms. Lofgren (00:47:11):

My time is expired.

Mr. Jordan (00:47:13):

Gentle lady’s time has ex-

Ms. Lofgren (00:47:14):

But the committee will look into the warrant requirement later in the-

Mr. Jordan (00:47:17):

Sure will.

Ms. Lofgren (00:47:17):

… process.

Mr. Jordan (00:47:17):

You sure will. The gentleman from Florida is recognized.

Mr. Gaetz (00:47:20):

The American people need to understand what just happened. My democrat colleague just asked the Director of the FBI whether or not they are buying information about our fellow Americans. And the answer is, “Well, we’ll just have to get back to you on that.” Sounds really complicated, but I have other questions. I’m sitting here with my father. I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father. Sounds like a shakedown, doesn’t it, Director?

Director Wray (00:47:58):

I’m not going to get into commenting on that.

Mr. Gaetz (00:48:01):

You seem deeply uncurious about it, don’t you? Almost suspiciously uncurious. Are you protecting the Bidens?

Director Wray (00:48:08):

Absolutely not. The FBI does not and has no interest-

Mr. Gaetz (00:48:12):

Well, you won’t answer the …

Director Wray (00:48:12):

… in protecting anyone politically.

Mr. Gaetz (00:48:12):

Hold on. You won’t answer the question about whether or not that’s a shakedown. And everybody knows why you won’t answer it because to the millions of people who will see this, they know it is. And your inability to acknowledge that is deeply revealing about you. But let’s go from the uncurious to the downright nosy. How many illegal FISA queries have occurred under your leadership of the FBI?

Director Wray (00:48:37):

Well, there are reports that have come out with different numbers about compliance incidents.

Mr. Gaetz (00:48:42):

More than a million illegal ones? Because that’s what the Inspector General said. The Inspector General said that in the 3.4 million of these queries, more than a million were in error. Do you have any basis to disagree with that assessment by the Inspector General?

Director Wray (00:48:57):

I’m not sure, actually, that’s a correct characterization of the Inspector General’s-

Mr. Gaetz (00:49:01):

Oh, well-

Director Wray (00:49:02):

… findings on that.

Mr. Gaetz (00:49:03):

Well, the internet will remind you of that in moments. But let’s now go to what the court said. The court said it was over 200,000 that have occurred on your watch. Would … Do you have any basis to disagree with that assessment?

Director Wray (00:49:15):

Again, I don’t have the numbers. I sit here right now. What I can say-

Mr. Gaetz (00:49:18):

Seems like a number you should know how many times the FBI’s breaking the law under your watch, especially if it’s over a million, to not know that number. And I’m worried about your veracity on the subject as well. Play this … Play the video.

Director Wray (00:49:36):

Letters for investigation of the Capitol.

Senator Lee (00:49:38):

You going to FISA court? Or you going-

Director Wray (00:49:39):

I don’t believe FISA is remotely implicated in our investigation.

Senator Lee (00:49:42):

Are you-

Mr. Gaetz (00:49:43):

There, Senator Lee’s asking you whether or not FISA was in any way involved in your January 6th investigation, and you say no. It was that truthful?

Director Wray (00:49:53):

I said that I did not believe it was.

Mr. Gaetz (00:49:55):

Okay. Now let’s pull up what the court said, which was something a little different than what you said. Here … Nope, that’s not the right one. Yeah, here we go. Right there, it says, “The Government has reported additional significant violations of the querying standard, including several relating to the January 6th, 2021 breach of the Capitol.” I guess the question, Director Wray, is did you not know when you were answering these questions that the FBI was engaging in these illegal searches? Or did you perjure yourself to Senator Lee?

Director Wray (00:50:30):

I certainly didn’t perjure myself. At the time that I testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I didn’t have that piece of information. I will add-

Mr. Gaetz (00:50:39):

Well, that was a court order. You didn’t have that piece of information because the court hadn’t yet rendered a judgment. Did you not know when you gave the untruthful answer before Senator Lee that this was going on?

Director Wray (00:50:47):

It was a truthful answer. I did not believe FISA had been involved in January 6th at that stage.

Mr. Gaetz (00:50:52):

But it was. So you didn’t … The answer is the FBI has broken so bad that people can go and engage in queries that when you come before the Congress to answer questions, you’re blissfully ignorant. You’re blissfully ignorant as to the unlawful queries. You’re blissfully ignorant as to the Biden shakedown regime. And it just seems like it gets into a kind of a creepy place as well. Go to our next image on what the court said. Just so the American people realize, the court has smacked you down alleging or ruling FBI personnel apparently conducted queries for improper personal reasons. People were looking themselves up. They were looking their ex-lovers up. Who has been held accountable or fired as a consequence of the FBI using the FISA process as their creepy personal snoop machine?

Director Wray (00:51:46):

There have been instances in which individuals have had disciplinary action-

Mr. Gaetz (00:51:51):

Name them.

Director Wray (00:51:52):

… and who are no longer with … I can’t get into it here, but we can follow back up with you.

Mr. Gaetz (00:51:56):

But don’t you see that that’s kind of the thing, Director Wray? That you preside over the FBI that has the lowest level of trust in the FBI’s history. People trusted the FBI more when J Edgar Hoover was running the place than when you are. And the reason is because you don’t give straight answers. You give answers that later a court deems aren’t true. And then at the end of the day, you won’t criticize an obvious shakedown when it’s directly in front of us. And it appears as though you’re whitewashing the conduct of corrupt people.

Director Wray (00:52:23):

Respectfully, Congressman, in your home state of Florida, the number of people applying to come work for us and devote their lives working for us is up over 100% since I started.

Mr. Gaetz (00:52:33):

We’re deeply proud of them. And they deserve better than you.

Mr. Jordan (00:52:37):

Time of the gentleman has expired. The gentleman from Tennessee is recognized for five minutes.

Mr. Cohen (00:52:42):

Thank you, Mr. Chair. And Director Wray, I thank you for continuing to serve with all of these attempts to sully your name, suggest you’ve committed crimes when you’ve done an excellent job as FBI Director. I don’t know with everything you’ve done, but mostly I do. And I think the FBI’s a premier law enforcement agency. And I support law enforcement. To attack the FBI is to attack law enforcement in general. A few days after Mar-a-Lago, there was some individual went after the Cincinnati headquarters of the FBI. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how you think that came about?

Director Wray (00:53:24):

The incident that you’re asking about was obviously deeply disturbing. We had an individual wearing a tactical vest, armed with an AR style rifle and a nail gun, who attempted to forcibly enter and attack our Cincinnati Field Office. A subsequent review of the subject’s devices and online postings identified a pretty striking anti-FBI, anti-federal law enforcement hostility. He was calling on others to kill federal law enforcement, claiming that he felt he was fighting a, in his words, civil war. And it’s unfortunately part of a broader phenomenon that we have seen, not just against the FBI, and this is important to add, but against law enforcement all across the country, not just against law enforcement professionals themselves, which is appalling enough, but calling for attacks against their families, which is truly despicable.

Mr. Cohen (00:54:28):

And that man eventually was captured and eliminated, was he not?

Director Wray (00:54:33):


Mr. Cohen (00:54:34):

A few days later, was the Arizona FBI department subject of armed violence or not violence, but armed protestors?

Director Wray (00:54:45):

Well, I know that our Phoenix Field Office has had a number of very concerning security incidents where people attempted to attack or breached the facility. I can’t remember the dates of when that happened, but …

Mr. Cohen (00:54:59):

All of this has happened kind of in the same sphere. It’s been … Information has been put out on social media and just in general, been by members of the Congress, questioning the FBI, questioning law enforcement in general. And this has had a deleterious effect on the safety of FBI officials, and you said others like justice. There was a story the other day, I believe, about people involved in the prosecution of former President and threats to them, the DOJ personnel as well as FBI. Is that something that’s going on presently? Is there efforts to have a unit at the FBI maybe look into how to protect and defend law enforcement personnel who are threatened with violence?

Director Wray (00:55:41):

We did stand up a whole dedicated unit to focus on threats to FBI individuals, FBI employees, and FBI facilities because of the uptick that we saw over that time period.

Mr. Cohen (00:55:55):

The January 6th was beyond a weaponization of Government. It was a nuclearization of Government against the Government. And I believe I heard that you said that you didn’t have any prior notice or reason to believe that there would be such an event on January 6th. Is that correct?

Director Wray (00:56:15):

We did not, to my knowledge at least, have prior knowledge of an attempt, a violent overthrow of and breach of the Capitol building itself. Certainly, we were concerned about and put out a number of products, intelligence products to partners and others warning of the potential for violence more generally on that date.

Mr. Cohen (00:56:36):

So there have been … I think Tucker Carlson and some of the members, colleagues on the other side of the aisle have said that Ray Epps was a secret Government agent in helping encourage this crime so as to make the President look bad. Do you have any knowledge of Ray Epps being a secret Government agent?

Director Wray (00:56:57):

No. I will say this notion that somehow the violence at the Capitol on January 6th was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources and agents is ludicrous and is a disservice to our brave, hardworking, dedicated men and women.

Mr. Cohen (00:57:16):

Director, I agree with you. I think the FBI has some of the most talented law enforcement people in our nation and in the world. And they are concerned about safety. They tend to, as I understand it, lean Republican, but they do their job down the line, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. I’m happy we have the FBI operating in Memphis and other places to work with our police departments and joint units to protect our citizens. And I thank you for your service to the United States. And I yield back my time.

Mr. Jordan (00:57:42):

Gentlemen yields back. Gentlemen from California is recognized.

Mr. Issa (00:57:45):

Thank you. Director, I’m going to follow up on my colleague from Memphis. How many individuals were either FBI employees or people that the FBI had made contact with were in the January 6th entry of the Capitol and surrounding area?

Director Wray (00:58:06):

I really need to be careful here talking about where we have or have not used confidential human sources. [inaudible 00:58:13].

Mr. Issa (00:58:13):

Was there one or more individuals that would fit that description on January 6th that were in or around the Capitol?

Director Wray (00:58:19):

I believe there is a filing in one of the January 6th cases that can provide a little more information about this. And I’m happy to see if we can follow back up with you and provide that.

Mr. Issa (00:58:29):

I just want an answer. Was there one or more? You would know if there was at least one individual who worked for the FBI who entered the Capitol on that day.

Director Wray (00:58:38):

I can’t … Again, I just can’t speak to that here. But I’m happy to get the court filing that [inaudible 00:58:43].

Mr. Issa (00:58:43):

Look, it’s been two years. And you’re now come before us. The gentleman asked these questions, makes all kinds of insinuations, and you nod your head yes. And then I ask you simply was there one or more, and you won’t answer that, so I’m going to make the assumption that there was more than one, more than five, more than 10, and that you’re ducking the question because you don’t want to answer for the fact that you had at least one and somehow missed understanding that some of the individuals were very dangerous and that there were others inciting individuals to enter the Capitol after others broke windows. I’m just going to move on because I think it is time to move on past January 6th. I just … Seems that the other side won’t. You’re a near cabinet level individual. You enjoy a term and Senate confirmation. Do you feel comfortable speaking to other members, either cabinet level or sub-cabinet level, when appropriate, to resolve problems within the Government?

Director Wray (00:59:51):


Mr. Issa (00:59:52):

Okay. And so when the FBI censored the United States Government, you wouldn’t have to just take it down by calling Meta or Google, would you?

Director Wray (01:00:08):

I’m sorry, I’m not sure I’m following the question.

Mr. Issa (01:00:10):

Are you familiar with the official verified Russian language account, the United States Department of State that was taken down at your agency’s request?

Director Wray (01:00:21):

That doesn’t ring a bell as I sit here right now, no.

Mr. Issa (01:00:23):

Okay. Well, now you have something to take back and look at.

Director Wray (01:00:27):


Mr. Issa (01:00:27):

Because in fact, in this bundle that SBU constantly was submitting to various agencies was in fact a Russian language statement of a government. Literally, you took down the free speech of the Department of State. Yes, go ahead.

Director Wray (01:00:48):

You mentioned SBU. I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing, but I will endeavor to provide a little more context at least as to SBU.

Mr. Issa (01:00:55):


Director Wray (01:00:58):

I believe what you may be referring to, but I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing, is that when Russia invaded Ukraine, the security service of Ukraine, SBU, which is a longstanding good partner of the FBI, asked us for help on a whole range of things. And one of those things was to contact US companies on their behalf because the Russians … The invasion had cut off the Ukrainians’ communications. And so we did pass through information from the SBU to social media.

Mr. Issa (01:01:31):

Are you also familiar with the fact that President Zelensky has had to clean house at the SBU?

Director Wray (01:01:38):

I know there’ve been a number of personnel changes.

Mr. Issa (01:01:41):

Okay. Well, we’ll follow up with this in more detail. The question I have for you is you’re the premier law enforcement operation and you’re a former Department of Justice high ranking executive at all levels, so would you agree that the job of the FBI is criminal investigation?

Director Wray (01:02:04):

It’s criminal investigation and to protect the country from national security threats. Those two things.

Mr. Issa (01:02:09):

Okay. So the idea that you take information and you have it taken down, use your authority and the leverage you have to have Meta, Google, Facebook, or Facebook being Meta, or Twitter take down people’s information on things like where COVID came from. Where do you find the national security interest in that? Where do you find the interest in free speech of American citizens being taken down? And I repeat free speech of American citizens. Where do you have that authority?

Director Wray (01:02:45):

We don’t ask social media companies to censor information or suppress information. When it comes to national security threats, certainly. What we do do is alert them when some other intelligence agency gives us information about a foreign intelligence service being behind some account. We will call social media companies’ attention to that. But at the end of the day, we’re very clear that it’s up to the social media companies to decide whether to do something about it or not. [inaudible 01:03:16].

Mr. Issa (01:03:15):

The suggestion of the most powerful law enforcement operation is not a suggestion. It is in fact effectively an order. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (01:03:25):

Gentlemen yields back. Gentlemen from Georgia is recognized.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:03:27):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We are here today because MAGA Republicans will do anything to protect Donald Trump, their savior, no matter how unfounded or dangerous it may be to do so. Welcome to the legislative arm of the Trump reelection campaign. A grand jury found probable cause that among other crimes, Trump illegally kept highly sensitive national security documents, which could put our country and other … And our sources in danger if they got out. And which photographs show Trump kept those records in bathrooms, showers, closets, and in the Mar-a-Lago ballroom. MAGA Republicans are afraid that the justice system might hold Trump accountable for his actions. So to protect him, Republicans are trying to intimidate FBI officials. And in case that does not work, Republicans are trying their hardest to discredit the FBI in the eyes of the American public. When Trump lost in 2020, they tried to make Americans distrust their election systems.


And now that the FBI and the Justice Department have sought to hold Trump to the same standard any other American citizen would be held to, MAGA Republicans are telling Americans not to trust the FBI. To protect Trump, Republicans are trying to distract us from the real work that the FBI does every day, which is fighting violent criminals, child predators, and fighting domestic terrorists and extremists so as to protect our democracy and our national security. And even worse, MAGA Republicans are stirring up threats that pose a danger to the safety of FBI employees. It’s past time that Republicans realize the consequences of their words and put the good of this country over politics. Now, Director Wray, I want to thank you for your service during a time of unprecedented travail. Director Wray, you were a partner at an international law firm before you took a drastic pay cut to accept the job of FBI Director, isn’t that correct?

Director Wray (01:05:54):

Yes. That’s something my wife reminds me of from time to time.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:05:58):

And … But let me ask you this, sir. And you took this office after Trump fired the former FBI Director, Jim Comey, correct?

Director Wray (01:06:12):

Yes, sir.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:13):

And did you contact the Trump administration to offer yourself for this job? Or did the administration recruit you for the job?

Director Wray (01:06:24):

They contacted me and asked me if I would be willing to consider taking on the role.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:29):

So Trump handpicked you to be the FBI Director?

Director Wray (01:06:34):


Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:35):

And he expected you to do what he wanted you to do, correct?

Director Wray (01:06:40):

Well, that I can’t speak to. I can tell you same thing I told him.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:44):

I’ll put it like this.

Director Wray (01:06:45):

That’s just that I’m going to do this job by the book.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:46):

He’s unhappy with you now, isn’t he?

Director Wray (01:06:50):

I’ll let him speak for himself.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:06:52):

Well, I think a lot of his acolytes here reflect his intent at this particular time. Director Wray, are you aware that MAGA Republicans have repeatedly called for the FBI to be defunded?

Director Wray (01:07:11):

I have heard some of that language.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:07:13):

In fact, Republicans on this very committee have said that your institution should be dismantled. Isn’t that correct?

Director Wray (01:07:22):

Well, I think certain members have.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:07:24):

And one member even tweeted, quote, “Defund and dismantle the FBI.” End quote. Another told Fox News that, quote, “Republicans should defund the bureaucracy.” End quote. And a third told the press that he thinks the FBI, quote, “Needs to be split up and moved out into pieces.” End quote. Those are direct quotes and only a small sample of what’s out there. Can you briefly describe for us what the effect would be on our national security and on our domestic tranquility if the FBI were to be defunded or dismantled?

Director Wray (01:08:03):

Well, certainly, it would be disastrous for 38,000 hardworking career law enforcement professionals and their families. But more importantly, in many ways, it would hurt our great state and local law enforcement partners who depends on us every day to work with them on a whole slew of challenging threats. It would hurt the American people, neighborhoods, and communities all across this country. The people we’re protecting from cartels, violent criminals, gang members, predators, foreign and domestic terrorists, cyber attacks. I could go on and on. The people it would help would be those same violent gangs and cartels, foreign terrorists, Chinese spies, hackers, and so forth.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (01:08:46):

A member-

Mr. Jordan (01:08:47):

Time of the gentleman has expired. Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Colorado for five minutes.

Mr. Buck (01:08:51):

I thank the Chairman. Director Wray, thank you. Thank you for your work with the FBI and thank you for your history of work in law enforcement. You started out as an AUSA. And I’m getting this information from Wikipedia, the great [inaudible 01:09:07] of knowledge in the digital age. And so I’m assuming that it’s true. But you started out as an AUSA. You were nominated by Republican President Bush for the position of Assistant Attorney General in the criminal division at the Department of Justice. And you were confirmed by a Republican Senate, if I am correct in that.

Director Wray (01:09:25):

Yes, by unanimous voice vote.

Mr. Buck (01:09:28):

And you were then nominated by Republican President Donald Trump to be the FBI Director and again, confirmed by Republican Senate for that position.

Director Wray (01:09:38):

Yes. I think there were only five votes against me, and they were all from Democrats.

Mr. Buck (01:09:45):

According to Wikipedia, you’re still a registered Republican. And I hope you don’t change your party affiliation after this hearing is over. But I want to thank you. I want to thank you for leading an agency, as you mentioned in your opening

Mr. Buck (01:10:00):

… statement that protects Americans from foreign terrorists, an agency that protects Americans from fries from China and Russia, and cyber crime, and public corruption, and organized crime, and drug cartels, and human traffickers, and white collar criminals. And I want to thank you and the FBI for protecting law-abiding Americans from the evil that exists all around us. Director Wray, you know this, but it’s worth mentioning again anyway, the FBI doesn’t protect America because this is a beautiful country. It doesn’t protect America just because of the citizens who live in this country. You and the FBI protect America because of the values that we hold, because of our constitutional republic. Because this is a special place. And the rest of the world knows just how special this place is.


Director Wray, I’m concerned about FISA. I’m not concerned about FISA in a partisan way, and frankly I am not in favor of defunding the FBI. Nor am I in favor of splitting up the FBI. Nor am I in favor of using the home and rule for the FBI director. I’m concerned about FISA because I’m concerned about what makes this place special and the threats to us. And I would love to work with the FBI on how we can protect Americans. At the same time protecting the civil liberties of Americans. And that area of FISA is what really concerns me.


And I know you have gone to great lengths to try to work with FBI agents on how they access information under 702. And I know that at times it has been successful and at times it has not been successful. But the spirit of FISA and the spirit of our constitutional republic really demands that the FBI culture shift, and it shifts to a place where FBI agents understand that protecting Americans civil liberties, that protecting the privacy that we all enjoy in this country, even though we screw up, we still enjoy this privacy and in court we have the highest burden of proof the world has ever known to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt.


And that information has to be gathered by the government in a legal way. And so I fear that we are going to over correct on FISA in Congress. That we are going to take away some tools that are necessary because there is a trust factor here that’s missing. And I’d love to know how we can draw that line in a way that assures the civil liberties. I agree with my colleague from California, and I don’t often agree with folks from California, but I agree with my colleague from California that it is essential that we not get geolocation information from what I consider criminals at big tech, and that we protect that information for Americans.


You, as a law enforcement official, should not know where I am necessarily unless you have probable cause to get that information. I’m also concerned about the ability of law enforcement, and particularly the FBI, to access information. When I go on the internet and I search for a gun vault or I search for a holster. I don’t want the government to know that I own a gun. And I think I have that privacy right to make sure the government doesn’t know that I own a gun, or any other information that I search for on the internet, unless you’ve got probable cause to make that search. And so I want to ask you a question in the last few seconds. And that is how can you work on the culture in the FBI and help us reach that sweet spot on FISA?

Director Wray (01:13:54):

Well, I thank you for that. Certainly we, starting with first principles, try to drive home every day to our entire workforce that our mission is to both protect the American people and uphold the constitution. And we have, on the issue of FISA, clearly had failures in the past. I’ve been very plain about that, and we’ve implemented a whole series of reforms. And if you look at the reports that have started to come out now from the FISA court, from ODNI, from the justice Department, from others who have looked at the effect of our reforms over and over again, they are showing significant improvement in compliance. We’re talking about the most recent FISC, FISA court opinion finding 98% compliance and commending us for moving in the right direction. DOJ report found 99% compliance.


Our internal audit found a 14% jump up to 96%. These are all separate reports looking at the impact of our reforms. A lot of the public commentary about our failures, and let’s be clear, we have had problems. And those problems are unacceptable, and I’m determined with my leadership team to fix them. But those problems almost entirely predate those reforms, even though some of them have just come out recently. And so we’re going to keep working at this. That is not a one and done from my perspective. I recognize that we need to work with the Congress on this issue. But this is an incredibly important tool. As you know from your own public service, as a prosecutor as well, this is an incredibly important tool to protect the American people from very serious foreign threats.

Mr. Jordan (01:15:33):

Time of the gentleman’s expired. The gentleman from California is recognized.

Mr. Schiff (01:15:36):

Thank you Mr. Director. I want to pick up where Mr. Buck began as well by thanking you for your service. And I’m glad that we have an opportunity for one Democrat and Republican in close succession to thank you for your service to the country. You are being attacked and vilified by some of the members of this committee and others outside this committee because the Justice Department of the FBI has had the audacity to investigate serious allegations of criminal conduct by a former president. And I just want a chance to recap how we got to where we are. During the last administration and for four years the Justice Department took the position, not unprecedented for the department, that a current president could not be indicted. Now I think that’s a flawed matter as a constitutional principle. But nonetheless that was the view of the Office of Legal Counsel and the Justice Department during the Trump years, that the President of the United States could not be indicted.


My Republican colleagues seem to believe that a former president similarly cannot be indicted. That would effectively make a president above the law beyond the reach of the law. And in my view there would probably only one thing the founders would find more politically precarious and dangerous to our constitution than the indictment of a president or former president. And that is the failure to indict a president or former president when they have engaged in criminal conduct. The Justice Department, I believe as Representative Lofgren, my fellow member of the January 6th committee asserted, took a very long time to begin the investigation of Donald Trump and his involvement in January 6th. I believe it began with urgency when it came to the foot soldiers who broke into the capitol and assaulted police officers that day. But at least what I can tell from the public record, the activities of the president himself, some of which were a matter of very much a public record, such as his tape recorded conversation with the Secretary of State in Georgia in which he badgered the secretary to quote, “Find 11,780 votes that don’t exist.”


While that was the subject investigation by the local district attorney in Fulton County. Did not appear to be the subject investigation for more than a year by the Justice Department. To me, that is inexplicable. This was never the kind of case in which you could roll up the foot soldiers on the higher ups because there were multiple lines of effort in this plot to overturn the election. I do think that the appointment of the special counsel has accelerated the investigation of the former president’s misconduct and I think that is a positive step for the department and for the country so we can get resolution to this. But likewise with Mar-a-Lago, notwithstanding the protests of my colleagues, there were repeated, repeated requests by the archives to get those documents back from the former president. And then when those were unsuccessful there was a grand jury subpoena that was administered. And when that was unsuccessful, and only when that was unsuccessful, and there was evidence that the former president was still withholding highly classified materials, did the FBI go to this step of a search warrant.


That was more than a year and a half after those initial requests. This was anything but a rush to judgment in the Mar-a-Lago case. So, I believe the Department, if anything, has exercised enormous caution. I would say too much caution in the January 6th committee’s work and oversight to proceed against a former president when there are serious incredible allegations of criminal conduct. But I want to thank you for your stewardship during this incredibly difficult time. I don’t think there’s been a more difficult time for an FBI director. And notwithstanding concerns I have expressed, none of them go to your integrity or your commitment to the country, and I want to thank you for that. Let me ask you about a different topic, although related to January 6th as well. Let me ask you broadly about domestic violent extremism. I offered an amendment in this committee, voted down by the Republicans, that we should oversee the increasingly dire threat of domestic violent extremism. One of your recent reports underscored the rise of this prevalent threat and I’d ask you if you would address it today.

Director Wray (01:20:11):

So the rise of domestic violent extremism is something that I and we have been identifying for quite some time. It goes back well before January 6th. In fact, a lot of people don’t know this, but the joint terrorism task force is that we hear about so often that the FBI were largely created in response to domestic terrorism, not foreign terrorism. But in my first few years as director, we were identifying this issue more and more, and that’s why we elevated in the summer of 2019, racially motivated violent extremism to a national threat priority level.


And we saw I think about a 40% increase in the number of domestic violent extremism investigations all before anything to do with January 6th. Obviously, since then it has continued, but domestic violent extremism cuts across the spectrum from the racially motivated violent extremism, militia violent extremism, anarchist violent extremism, environmental violent extremism. And of course recently we’ve had a lot of violent extremism attacks against pro-life facilities and we’re investigating those. So it really covers a wide spectrum. And what they all have in common is three things. Violence or threats of violence motivated by some ideology, and it varies in violation of federal criminal law. And that’s the domestic violence extremism that I’m talking about when I identified this phenomenon.

Mr. Schiff (01:21:49):

Mr. Chairman, could I request you unanimous consent to enter into the record two letters both from David Weiss, the Trump appointed US attorney in Delaware, rebutting allegations concerning partiality in the investigation of the Hunter Biden case? I would-

Mr. Jordan (01:22:07):

No objection.

Mr. Schiff (01:22:08):

I thank you. Thank you director.

Mr. Jordan (01:22:09):

Without objection. Director, what’s the difference between a traditional Catholic and a radical traditional Catholic?

Director Wray (01:22:15):

I’m not an expert on the Catholic orders.

Mr. Jordan (01:22:20):

Well, your FBI wrote a memo talking about radical traditional Catholics. I’m just wondering if you could define it for us.

Director Wray (01:22:25):

Well, what I can tell you is you’re referring to the Richmond product, which was a single product by a single field office, which as soon as I found out about it I was aghast and ordered it withdrawn and removed from FBI systems.

Mr. Jordan (01:22:36):

You were aghast then why won’t you let us talk to the people who put it together?

Director Wray (01:22:40):

We are working on finishing an internal review into what happened there.

Mr. Jordan (01:22:43):

We have to wait. We, the Congress and the American people have to wait until you do an internal review. It’s not a criminal investigation going on here. An internal review before we can talk to the people who wrote this?

Director Wray (01:22:54):

When we finish our internal review, which will be very soon, we will come back before the committee-

Mr. Jordan (01:22:58):

Any idea how many Catholics in America?

Director Wray (01:22:59):

… and provide a briefing on what we found.

Mr. Jordan (01:23:01):

Well, we appreciate the briefing. But we want to talk to the people who wrote it. Any idea how many Catholics are in America, Director?

Director Wray (01:23:07):

No sir.

Mr. Jordan (01:23:08):

There’s a lot. Over 60 million. What percentage of those are radical traditional Catholics according to the Richmond field office of the FBI.

Director Wray (01:23:16):

Again, that product is not something that I will defend or excuse. It’s something that I thought was appalling and removed it.

Mr. Jordan (01:23:22):

Let’s read from that product. Page four of that product. By the way, the copy you gave us, when can we get a copy that didn’t have all these redactions on it so we can actually see what the American taxpayers were paying for to see their rights, their first amendment religious liberty rights attacked. Let me just read from page four. “Provide new opportunities to mitigate extremist threat through outreach to traditional Catholic parishes and the development of sources with the placement and access to report on places of worship.” That’s pretty fancy language for they’re trying to put informants in the parish in the church. That’s what this memorandum said, Director, from one of your field offices. And you won’t let us talk to the people who did it. Any response to that?

Director Wray (01:24:09):

I didn’t know. I was waiting for the question.

Mr. Jordan (01:24:11):

No, you think priests should be informants inside the church, director.

Director Wray (01:24:14):

We do not recruit open or operate confidential human sources to infiltrate target report on religious organizations-

Mr. Jordan (01:24:24):

That’s not what this said. It sounds like you were trying to do it in Richmond, Virginia.

Director Wray (01:24:26):

No sir. No sir.

Mr. Jordan (01:24:27):

You weren’t? This didn’t happen? You can assure us that this didn’t happen?

Director Wray (01:24:31):

That product did not, as best as we can tell, result in any investigative action as a result of it. None.

Mr. Jordan (01:24:38):

You know what the motivation for this was? Why would they even think about doing this? You know what the motivation was?

Director Wray (01:24:43):

Well, again, I think that’s what our internal review will find, and I’d rather wait until I hear what the results of that internal report.

Mr. Jordan (01:24:49):

Well, I don’t need an internal review. I can read the document. I assume you can do the same. It says right there on the same page, “Richmond assesses extremist interest in radical traditional Catholics likely to increase over the next 12 to 24 months in the run-up to the next general election.” Same paragraph. “Events in which extremists and radical traditional Catholics might have common cause include legislation, judicial decisions in such areas as abortion rights, immigration, affirmative action and LGBTQ protections.” It’s politics. That’s the motivation, in the run-up to the next election and they talk about the border, affirmative action and abortion rights. It’s total politics. I mean I think it’s interesting that affirmative… We just got a decision from a bunch of Catholics who sit on the United States Supreme Court relative to affirmative action. Politics was the total motivation here, and that’s scary.


I think so frightening and why we… How this happens, I don’t know. And five people signed off on it. Five people, including the Chief division council at the Richmond Field office. I’d like to talk to this lawyer and a lot of people in this room went to law school, of course on the constitution, talks about the First Amendment. I find that really scary. Again, when do you think we’re going to have a chance? How soon are you going to complete this internal investigation so we can talk to these folks who put this together?

Director Wray (01:26:14):

I expect us to be able to brief the committee on our internal review later this summer.

Mr. Jordan (01:26:19):

Will that briefing include the names of the individuals who put this document together attacking American’s first Amendment of Liberty?

Director Wray (01:26:25):

I’m not sure yet what’ll include because it’s not done yet. But when it is, we’ll provide you with an appropriate briefing.

Mr. Jordan (01:26:29):

What are you doing to fix it so this doesn’t happen again?

Director Wray (01:26:32):

Well, we’ve already started putting in place a number of fixes and those will be further informed by the results of the review.

Mr. Jordan (01:26:37):

What are those fixes? More training, more things, that same thing you told us on FISA. And while you may have some improvement, you still got 204,000 times the database was illegally searched. So what are the training and procedures you’re putting in place?

Director Wray (01:26:48):

Well, I’ll put the FISA stuff to the side a little.

Mr. Jordan (01:26:51):

I’m just using that as an example of where you’ve told us the same thing. You fixed something and you haven’t.

Director Wray (01:26:56):

I do not believe the number that you just invoked on the FISA side is since the reforms. The fixes, as you called them-

Mr. Jordan (01:27:03):

Can we get an unredacted?

Director Wray (01:27:05):

… post date, the numbers that you’re referring to.

Mr. Jordan (01:27:07):

Director, can we get an unredacted copy while you’re still doing this internal investigation? Can we at least get an unredacted copy of this memorandum?

Director Wray (01:27:12):

I will find out if there’s more of the document that can be shared with you. We’ve tried to be very careful in what we redact, and there’s always a basis for it. So let me go back and see if there’s more that we can provide, but I know my instructions are to be as sparing as possible in the redactions that we provide.

Mr. Jordan (01:27:30):

Gentlemen from California is recognized.

Mr. Swalwell (01:27:32):

Director, I think it’s quite rich that the guy that has accused you of lawlessness and weaponization is 400 days into violation of his own congressional subpoena over January 6th. Quite rich to me that you’re hearing all of these allegations from somebody who won’t even respond to a lawful subpoena. But I want to talk more about your workforce because that’s where you started. A couple of weeks ago at The Bureau you had Family Day. Can you tell us what Family Day is?

Director Wray (01:28:01):

Family Day is an opportunity for employees from really all over the FBI. It tends to be primarily from the nearby geographies because of the trip that they have to make, employees to bring their families into FBI headquarters so that they can see a little bit about the place their loved ones work and why mom or dad is spending so much time away from home.

Mr. Swalwell (01:28:23):

You see any little kids at Family Day.

Director Wray (01:28:25):

Many, many, many. It’s an opportunity for us to say thank you to the families. We talk a lot in law enforcement about sacrifice, but the reality is that law enforcement officers and professionals are sacrificing to do what they love. Our families are sacrificing because of who they love.

Mr. Swalwell (01:28:45):

And what would you say in your experience is the number one worry of a little kid, about a mom or dad who was a special agent out in the field?

Director Wray (01:28:54):

Obviously they’re worried that their mom or dad won’t come home at night because they’ve been killed, and that in fact has happened unfortunately all too often.

Mr. Swalwell (01:29:00):

Happened in Fort Lauderdale, a couple years ago. Is that right?

Director Wray (01:29:03):

Laura Schwartzenberger and Dan Alfin, two of our agents killed in connection with a child exploitation case down there. It was the single darkest day I’ve had in this job.

Mr. Swalwell (01:29:15):

I want to turn your attention to an organization called Marco Polo. It’s run by a former Trump aide named Garrett Ziegler. Over the past couple weeks he has docs, the addresses of a former special agent connected to the Hunter Biden case. He has put up the dates of births and pictures of two current special agents who work for you. He has said the name, which I will not say, of an assistant US attorney who worked in the Hunter Biden case that she will answer for her crimes. He will focus everything on her. “Justice will be done. It’s out of my hands, but she will answer.” Do these types of threats and doxxing concern you about threats to your workforce and what it could mean?

Director Wray (01:30:01):

Well, obviously what we’re most concerned about are the actual acts of violence, which themselves have happened and as we just discussed, but this kind of phenomenon, doxxing is itself hugely problematic. Because the more personal information about law enforcement professionals that are out in the internet, the more people who may be unstable or inclined to violence that are out there who can choose to act on it. And we’re seeing that all too often. The number of officers across law enforcement killed in the line of duty has been up alarmingly over the last few years. And I know that because one of the things I committed to doing early in my tenure was every time an officer anywhere in the country is shot and killed in the line of duty, I was going to personally call that sheriff or that chief and on behalf of the FBI express our support and condolences and relay that to the family. And I have done that now close to 400 times since I’ve been in this job.

Mr. Swalwell (01:31:08):

Thank you for doing that. And you don’t only do that, you send your sacks, your special agents in charge to their funerals as well, and I’ve seen that. Chairman, I’ve counted in this hearing and we’re only about an hour and a half in, the use of the word laptop about 20 times. In fact, in the chairman’s opening statement, he said that he’s upset that he believes the FBI prevented more Americans from learning about a private citizen’s laptop. That is bananas to me. You all are bringing up FISA, every single question. You’re essentially saying to the American people that your guardians of personal security and privacy, but the 2020 election was determined because the FBI didn’t let more Americans see a private citizen’s non-consensual nudes. Is that what we’re saying here? That you lost the election not because of your ideas but because of private citizens’ laptop wasn’t out there?

Mr. Jordan (01:32:19):

Do you want an answer? Would you yield?

Mr. Swalwell (01:32:21):

That’s bananas. Like you should be a party of ideas, not a party of non-consensual nudes to help you win an election.

Mr. Jordan (01:32:28):

Will you yield for an answer?

Mr. Swalwell (01:32:29):

And it seems like that is what the objection is here today. We should be talking about the mass shootings that occurred over the last 10 days. Instead, this hearing has turned into absolute chaos. And I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (01:32:40):

Time of the gentleman’s expired. We bring up FISA, because it’s up for reauthorization. If the gentleman didn’t know, at the end of this year, and it was in our witnesses opening statement. I didn’t bring up the laptop.

Mr. Swalwell (01:32:52):

Whose time are you speaking? Whose time are you speaking to Chairman? Point of order-

Mr. Jordan (01:32:54):

The judge last week on July 4th-

Speaker X (01:32:57):

Mr. Chairman, point of order. Whose time are you speaking on?

Mr. Jordan (01:32:58):

I’m speaking on… Not a point of order, and I recognize the gentleman from Arizona.

Mr. Biggs (01:33:03):

Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Director. Thanks for being here. Who is Matthew Graves? Who is Matthew Graves?

Director Wray (01:33:11):

I believe Matthew Graves, at least the person I’m thinking of is I think the US attorney in the District of Columbia.

Mr. Biggs (01:33:16):

That’s the person I’m thinking of too. Are you aware that he has promised more than 1000 more individuals will be charged or indicted related to January 6th?

Director Wray (01:33:24):

I had not heard that he had said that.

Mr. Biggs (01:33:26):

Well, it seems arbitrary and there’s reports that it’s kind of a quasi quota system that he’s put together for January 6th prosecutions. Do you approve of targets, goals, quotas in prosecuting alleged criminal conduct?

Director Wray (01:33:40):

Well, certainly not quotas. That doesn’t make any sense. I mean goals is a little bit more of an ambiguous term.

Mr. Biggs (01:33:47):

Certainly not quotas.

Director Wray (01:33:48):

Certainly not quotas.

Mr. Biggs (01:33:50):

Do you know if any of your personnel at the FBI is involved in the investigations promised that will lead to indictments by the January 6th quota established by you as Attorney Graves?

Director Wray (01:34:04):

That doesn’t sound familiar to me.

Mr. Biggs (01:34:06):

Okay. In June 2020 first, you told this committee that a small group of people at the US Capitol on January 6th had, quote, “All sorts of weapons.” Do you remember being here for that committee hearing and testifying that way?

Director Wray (01:34:18):

In general, yes.

Mr. Biggs (01:34:21):

It has been reported that more than 40 FBI personnel agents or contractors were in the crowd on January 6th. Is that number accurate?

Director Wray (01:34:30):

I don’t know if that number is accurate.

Mr. Biggs (01:34:32):

Former Capitol Police Chief Stevenson reportedly as asserted that the protest crowd was filled with federal agents. Are you aware of his assertion?

Director Wray (01:34:45):

I am not.

Mr. Biggs (01:34:46):

Would you agree with him that it was filled with federal agents on January 6th?

Director Wray (01:34:52):

I would really have to see more closely exactly what he said and get the full context to be able to evaluate it.

Mr. Biggs (01:34:58):

How many agents or human resources were present at the Capitol complex and vicinity on January 6th?

Director Wray (01:35:08):

Well, again, it’s going to get confusing because it depends on when we deployed and responded to the breach that occurred. Obviously there were Federal agents.

Mr. Biggs (01:35:18):

Sure. Yeah. And you and I both know what we’re talking different things here .and please don’t distract here because we’re focusing on those who were there in an undercover capacity on January 6th. How many were there?

Director Wray (01:35:32):

Again, I’m not sure that I can give you that number as I sit here. I’m not sure there were undercover agents on scene.

Mr. Biggs (01:35:41):

I find that kind of a remarkable statement, director. At this point you don’t know whether there were undercover federal agents, FBI agents in the crowd or in the capitol on January 6th? I

Director Wray (01:35:54):

I say that because I want to be very careful. There have been a number of court filings related to some of these topics and I want to make sure that I stick with them what’s in-

Mr. Biggs (01:36:02):

I understand that. But I thought I heard you say you didn’t know whether there were FBI agents or informants or human sources in the capitol or in the in vicinity on January 6th. Did I misunderstand you? I thought that’s what you said.

Director Wray (01:36:19):

Well, I referred very specifically to undercover agents.

Mr. Biggs (01:36:21):

Yeah. And so are you acknowledging then there were undercover agents?

Director Wray (01:36:27):

As I sit here right now, I do not believe there were undercover agents on scene with FBI agents.

Mr. Biggs (01:36:33):

Did you have any assets present that day in the crowd.

Director Wray (01:36:38):

When it comes to what you’re calling assets or what we would call confidential human sources, that’s a place where, again, I want to be careful, as much as I said in response to an earlier question. There are court filings that I think speak to this, that I’m happy to make sure we get to you assuming they’re not under seal, and that can better answer the question than I can as I sit here right now.

Mr. Biggs (01:37:03):

In the same June 2020 first committee hearing, you told us that the FISA court, quote, “Approved FBI procedures, minimization procedures, collection and procedures, querying procedures did not find misconduct.” That’s what you said. Specifically, you said the FISC found no misconduct. Yet three months later, the Inspector General found widespread problems in FBI’s FISA applications raising serious questions about the FBI review process of applications, including hundreds of examples of non-compliance with woods procedures, for example. And we know that from December 2020 to November 2021, the FBI conducted 3.4 million warrantless searches of US data under FISA, 3.4 million. Up nearly triple the amount of the previous year, and it got worse. As you were telling us, there was nothing to worry about. But now your reforms have reduced it down to 119,000, over 200,000 total. But 119,000 discreet Americans. That just doesn’t seem like you’ve accomplished much there, if you have 119,000 illegal searches and queries under FISA. I’ll yield back.

Mr. Jordan (01:38:13):

Gentlemen, yields back. Gentlemen from California’s recognized.

Mr. Lieu (01:38:16):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. The House Judiciary Committee is responsible for helping to ensure the rule of law. Unfortunately, this chairman ignored a bipartisan congressional subpoena served upon him. The actions of this chairman have undermined the credibility of all congressional committees in seeking information from witnesses and have undermined the rule of law. Now, Director Wray, thank you for your public service and for the service of the brave FBI agents. I’m going to ask you a series of basic questions to get facts out to American people about our system of justice. Trump advisor, Roger Stone was convicted in a federal court, correct?

Director Wray (01:39:01):

That’s my recollection.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:02):

Trump donor, Elliot Brady was convicted in a federal court. Correct.

Director Wray (01:39:07):

Also, my recollection.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:09):

The Attorney General at the time for those two convictions was Bill Barr. Which president nominated Bill Barr for Attorney General

Director Wray (01:39:17):

President Trump.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:19):

Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen was convicted on two separate occasions in a federal court, correct?

Director Wray (01:39:24):

I believe that’s correct.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:27):

The Attorney General at the time for Cohen’s second conviction was Matthew Whitaker. Which president appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting Attorney General?

Director Wray (01:39:38):

President Trump.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:40):

Trump’s former campaign chairman Powell Manafort was convicted in a federal court, correct?

Director Wray (01:39:44):


Mr. Lieu (01:39:45):

Trump’s former deputy campaign manager, Mr. Gates was convicted in a federal court, correct?

Director Wray (01:39:51):

That’s my recollection.

Mr. Lieu (01:39:52):

Trump’s campaign foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos was convicted in a federal court, correct?

Director Wray (01:40:00):

Yes. Yeah, he pled guilty. Yes.

Mr. Lieu (01:40:02):

The Attorney general at the time of those three cases was Jeff Sessions. Which president nominated Jeff Sessions for Attorney General?

Director Wray (01:40:09):

President Trump.

Mr. Lieu (01:40:10):

You were the FBI director for all of those cases at the time, which president nominated you?

Director Wray (01:40:17):

President Trump.

Mr. Lieu (01:40:18):

What these facts show is we don’t have a two-tiered system of justice. We have one department of justice that goes after criminals regardless of party ideology. All of these folks were convicted under the administrations of three separate Republican Attorneys General. It is not the fault of the FBI that Donald Trump surrounded himself with criminals. Donald Trump brought that upon himself. Thank you to the FBI for exposing the cesspool of corruption of these Trump associates.


Now, I’d like to talk about efforts by MAGA Republicans to defund the FBI. I think it’ll be useful for the FBI to explain to American people what your missions are and how critical they are. So again, a series of basic questions. The FBI’s mission includes counter-terrorism, correct?

Director Wray (01:41:13):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:13):

And that means the FBI works to stop terrorist attacks on American soil, right?

Director Wray (01:41:18):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:18):

The FBI’s mission also includes counterintelligence, correct?

Director Wray (01:41:22):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:23):

And that means the FBI works to stop espionage of American companies and organizations. Is that right?

Director Wray (01:41:29):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:30):

The FBI’s mission includes stopping cyber crime, right?

Director Wray (01:41:33):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:34):

The FBI’s mission includes stopping public corruption, right?

Director Wray (01:41:37):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:38):

The FBI’s mission includes stopping weapons of mass destruction from being detonated on American soil, right?

Director Wray (01:41:44):

Yes. We work with others on it, but yes.

Mr. Lieu (01:41:46):

The FBI’s mission includes going after organized crime, right?

Director Wray (01:41:49):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:50):

You go after violent crime, correct?

Director Wray (01:41:52):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:52):

You also go after white collar crime, right?

Director Wray (01:41:54):


Mr. Lieu (01:41:55):

The FBI’s mission also includes going after child sex trafficking, correct?

Director Wray (01:41:58):


Mr. Lieu (01:42:00):

Republican members of their caucus, including members on this committee, have asked to defund the FBI. One member of this committee from Arizona wrote that the FBI quote, “Should be defunded and dismantled.” What would happen if the FBI was defunded and dismantled?

Director Wray (01:42:18):

We would have hundreds more violent criminals out on the street, dozens more violent gangs, terrorizing communities, hundreds more child predators on the loose, hundreds more kids left at those predators’ mercy, instead of being rescued, scores of threats from the Chinese Communist Party being left unaddressed. Hundreds of ransomware attacks left unmitigated, terrorist attacks, both jihadist inspired and domestic violent extremists not prevented, that would succeed against Americans, single seizures of fentanyl. It is not uncommon right now for a single FBI office in a single operation to seize enough fentanyl to wipe out an entire state. So many, many, many, many more of those lethal doses would be sweeping the country. We have close to 400, I think it is somewhere between 300, 400 investigations into the leadership of the cartels trafficking that fentanyl. So you would have a significantly greater threat from the southwest border, from the cartels. So those are just a few things that would happen. Ultimately, the people most hurt by some ill-conceived effort to defund our agency, the people most hurt are the American people that live in every district represented on this committee.

Mr. Lieu (01:43:44):

Thank you, Director Wray and the FBI Agents for protecting Americans.

Mr. Jordan (01:43:47):

Gentleman from California, Mr. Kiley is recognized.

Mr. Kiley (01:43:52):

Good morning, Director Wray. I’d like to take you back to 2021. In many parts of the country, schools remained closed, month after month, for no good reason. Once schools did nominally open, many instituted draconian testing and quarantined regimes, such as one student is possibly exposed to covid, everyone goes home for the week. Children as young as toddlers were subjected to harmful mass mandates that defied international norms. The way some students were treated truly shocks the conscience.


Just consider a few examples from my own state of California. A school district in Davis sent an email at to parents announcing that their children will be required to eat outside in the rain to reduce exposure to covid. A school in Sonoma County made young children chew with their masks on, explaining this was to minimize the time spent unmasked. Some schools in Los Angeles limited students to one bathroom break per day and barred them from drinking water outside of the lunch period. A school in the San Ramon Valley made students eat lunch on the ground. In October of that year, the American Academy of Pediatrics would declare a national state of emergency in children’s mental health, citing dramatic increases

Mr. Kiley (01:45:00):

… increases in emergency department visits for all mental health emergencies, including suspected suicide attempts. In the face of this, director, the Biden administration decided to take action. It mobilized the sweeping powers of federal law enforcement, but it wasn’t to spare kids from such cruelty. Rather, it was to target the parents who were speaking out against it. The administration coordinated with the National School Board Association on a letter that began with the alarming claim, ” America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat.” The letter cited a handful of news stories, almost all of which involved purely expressive activity by parents at school board meetings and called such activity a form of domestic terrorism. The letter called for the full counter-terrorism and law enforcement powers of the federal government, including authority granted under the Patriot Act, to be mobilized to investigate, intercept, and prevent such activity.


The Biden administration was ready to take this letter and run with it the moment it was received. After all, administration officials had participated in its drafting. Within five days of receiving it, Attorney General Merrick Garland fired off his infamous memo directing federal action in response to a “disturbing spike in harassment and intimidation and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff”. In response, the FBI opened 25 assessments against parents and even created a new threat tag. Director Wray, did Attorney General Garland consult with you or the FBI before issuing that memorandum?

Director Wray (01:46:32):

I can’t get into discussions that did, or maybe more importantly did not happen between the FBI and the department in advance of the –

Mr. Kiley (01:46:40):

Why do you say more importantly did not?

Director Wray (01:46:42):

Well, because I will say to you the same thing that I said to all 56 of our field offices as soon as I read the memo, which is that the FBI is not in the business of investigating or policing speech at school board meetings, or anywhere else for that matter. And we’re not going to start now. Now violence, threats of violence, that’s a different matter. We’re going to work with our –

Mr. Kiley (01:47:05):

Correct. So that’s what the memo was predicated on. And what I’m asking you, was there any evidence that you provided to Attorney General Garland that supported that predicate, that premise that there was an increase in harassment and threats of violence?

Director Wray (01:47:19):

I’m not aware of any such evidence, but I know that we’ve had a number of our folks who have been up here for transcribed interviews. So unless some of them shared it, I’m not aware of any of this.

Mr. Kiley (01:47:29):

Well, actually what they’ve shared with us points to just the opposite. You had, for example, a letter from Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director in March of this year, where the FBI acknowledged that it has not observed an uptick of threats directed at school officials since it began tracking the data. Does that sound accurate to you?

Director Wray (01:47:47):

Yes, sir.

Mr. Kiley (01:47:47):

And is it also true that according to the FBI itself, none of the school board related investigations have resulted in federal arrests or charges?

Director Wray (01:47:55):

I think that’s correct. I think of the 25 … and for context, that’s 25 –

Mr. Kiley (01:48:02):

I’m sorry, I have limited time. So if that’s correct, I’d like to move on. This committee’s investigation concluded that the Justice Department’s own documents demonstrated that there was no compelling nationwide law enforcement justification for the Attorney General’s directive. Do you have any reason to dispute that conclusion?

Director Wray (01:48:19):


Mr. Kiley (01:48:20):

So we had an investigation of parents. We had a sweeping mobilization of federal power against the most protected core First Amendment activity, the right of citizens to speak and petition their government on the most important of issues, the education of their children. And you are telling me that the entire basis for that, there was no evidence to support it.

Director Wray (01:48:42):

Well, I want to be clear. We, the FBI, as I said, were not and did not investigate people for exercising –

Mr. Kiley (01:48:48):

Should Attorney General Garland rescind the memo?

Director Wray (01:48:51):

I’m sorry?

Mr. Kiley (01:48:51):

Should Attorney General Garland rescind that memo?

Director Wray (01:48:53):

Oh, that’s a question for the Attorney General.

Mr. Kiley (01:48:55):

Do you believe he should?

Director Wray (01:48:56):

Again, that’s a question for the Attorney General.

Mr. Kiley (01:48:58):

Do you believe that the Attorney General should apologize to parents who are the subject of that memorandum?

Director Wray (01:49:02):

I’m not going to speak to that.

Mr. Kiley (01:49:04):

Will you apologize for the FBI’s own role?

Director Wray (01:49:07):

I think the FBI conducted itself the way it should here, which is that we’ve continued to follow our longstanding rules and have not changed anything in response to that memo.

Mr. Jordan (01:49:17):

The time for the gentleman has expired. The chair recognizes the gentle lady from Washington.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:49:21):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you so much for being with us. Thank you for your service to the country. I do want to focus on some areas of concern around American civil liberties that I have had longstanding concerns about. In testimony to Senate intelligence in March, you stated that the FBI had previously purchased commercial database information that includes location data derived from internet advertising, but that to your knowledge, the FBI does not currently purchase data. But just last month, the ODNI declassified a report revealing that the FBI and other agencies do purchase significant amounts of commercially available information about Americans from data brokers. And the report notes that commercially available information “has increasingly important risks and implications for US persons’ privacy and civil liberties, as commercially available information can reveal sensitive and intimate information about individuals”. It is public information that the FBI uses Babel Street and Venntel, and has a Lexus account. All of these companies provide data for purchase. Can you tell me how the FBI uses that data?

Director Wray (01:50:39):

Respectfully, this is a topic that gets very involved to explain. So what I would prefer to do is have our subject matter experts come back up and brief you and they can answer your questions in detail about it, because there’s a lot of confusion that can be unintentionally caused about this topic.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:50:58):

But does the FBI purchase data?

Director Wray (01:51:00):

My testimony that you referred to before remains the same. And the story about the ODNI report doesn’t change that, but again, there’s a lot of precision and technical dimensions to this.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:51:13):

Well, I do appreciate that, but I’m looking at a report that is from the office of the director of National Intelligence saying –

Director Wray (01:51:22):

I understand.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:51:23):

– that the FBI purchases data. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent object to enter this into the record.

Mr. Jordan (01:51:28):


Mrs. Jayapal (01:51:30):

Do you know if the contracts with data brokers, like the ones I described, provide location data?

Director Wray (01:51:38):

My testimony about purchasing commercial database information that includes location data derived from internet advertising remains the same, which is that we currently do not do that.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:51:50):

But the information that you have that has already been purchased, does it contain location –

Director Wray (01:51:56):

Again, I’m not trying to be obtuse or difficult here, I just know from experience that the more you drill into this whole issue of commercial data, geolocation data, et cetera, that it gets very involved. In some cases it involves pilot projects that are in the past. In some cases it involves national security information, et cetera.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:52:18):

Director Wray, I do understand that you’re –

Director Wray (01:52:19):

So I just want to make sure that we get you the information you need.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:52:22):

Okay. That’s great. I will take that, but I do want to say that this is just an extremely important issue for the American people to understand how their data is being used. That is location data, that is biometric information, it’s medical and mental health information, it’s information related to individuals’ communications, it’s information about people’s internet activity. And while I understand that that’s complicated, that is the reason that you come before us so that the American people can hear this. Let me ask you this, does the FBI have a written policy outlining how it can purchase and use commercially available information?

Director Wray (01:52:57):

There are a number of policies that bear on this topic. Again, that could be part of the same briefing that we’re happy to provide. I don’t dispute at all that this is an important topic. I’m simply saying that precisely because it’s such an important topic that a minute and 12 seconds counting down is not the best way for me –

Mrs. Jayapal (01:53:13):

No, I understand that.

Director Wray (01:53:14):

That’s all.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:53:14):

But I’m asking whether there is a policy. It sounds like there is a policy. When was that policy last updated?

Director Wray (01:53:20):

That I can’t … as I sit here right now, I don’t have the answer for you on that, but again, there are a number of policies that are relevant to this, so that may affect the –

Mrs. Jayapal (01:53:28):

And you’ll commit to providing those to us so that we can explore them together?

Director Wray (01:53:31):

I would commit to providing you a briefing and provide hopefully very helpful information to help you understand better this whole topic.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:53:37):

What about a written policy governing how commercially available information can be used in criminal investigations?

Director Wray (01:53:42):

I think it’s all wrapped up in the same answer I just gave.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:53:48):

I mean, the reason that this is so important is because the question is whether the FBI uses that data to generate leads for investigations only or further along in the investigative process. There’s public reporting on DHS contracts with the same data brokers that I mentioned earlier, totalling millions of taxpayer dollars. And as you know, in the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Carpenter versus United States, the court held that it is a violation of the Fourth Amendment for the government to access historical location data without a warrant. Does the FBI have a written policy interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision in Carpenter?

Director Wray (01:54:29):

If I recall correctly, there was guidance. I can’t remember if it’s a policy or what that came out after the Carpenter decision, but again, I think that’ll be encompassed in the briefing that we’re talking about.

Mrs. Jayapal (01:54:40):

Well, I’m going to follow up with you. I want to thank you again for your service. This is a critically important issue for the American people to understand. We have bipartisan support around FISA reauthorization and the concerns we have around FISA reauthorization. And unless we really understand what measures the FBI is taking to ensure that people’s privacy is protected, I think it’s going to be a very difficult reauthorization process. I’m sure you know that. Thank you, director Wray. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (01:55:07):

Gentle lady yields back. And I would just say, well said. Appreciate your work with colleagues and the bipartisan approach in this area. And you have friends over here who want to want to help you on that. We now go to the gentleman from … I know, Director Wray. If we can go just a couple more, then we’ll take a little break if that works for the director? A couple more on each side, then we can take a break. Okay, I think? Okay. All right. We’ll go. I think Mr. Morris is up.

Mr. Morris (01:55:35):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you for being here today. In 2022, you testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and stated, “I condemn in this strongest possible terms any prospect of retaliation against whistleblowers.” Do you still agree with that statement?

Director Wray (01:55:51):


Mr. Morris (01:55:52):

Do you feel that your actions as the FBI leadership during your tenure live up to that sentiment?

Director Wray (01:55:58):


Mr. Morris (01:55:59):

Director Wray, a few months ago we heard from a … are you familiar with a Special Agent Garrett O’Boyle?

Director Wray (01:56:05):

I’m familiar with the name.

Mr. Morris (01:56:07):

After Mr. O’ Boyle came to Congress and blew the whistle on the misconduct at the bureau, his clearance was unsurprisingly suspended. Did that surprise you? Do you find that suspicious?

Director Wray (01:56:17):

I can’t discuss a specific security clearance matter, partly because the security clearance determinations are made by ODNI and directed by the security clearance manager, which is not the FBI director. And I don’t want to insert myself into the process while appeals are pending, for example.

Mr. Morris (01:56:37):

Well, as a leader, I think it’s important you … we need to have the opportunity, and you know by law, that they have the opportunity to be whistleblowers and talk to Congress and inform us on issues. And I think to restore trust in the FBI, it’s imperative on you to allow whistleblowers to come forward and for us to have the oversight we need to have to make sure … I mean, we’re seeing the polling numbers. The FBI is tanking, and it’s under your watch, sir. And it concerns me for the American people. When I’m in the district, the number one concern, and I come from a fairly rural district, is weaponization of the FBI and the DOJ coming after conservative American citizens who just simply want to have a voice in the process. So I would encourage you … Mr. O’Boyle, I understand he has been suspended since September of ’23, almost 10 months now, in 2022. He was suspended in 2022. So almost a year now the man’s trying to go without a paycheck. I don’t know, could you make it 10 months without a paycheck, Mr. Wray?

Director Wray (01:57:31):

I prefer not to have to.

Mr. Morris (01:57:32):

Well, you’re talking about your wife not being real happy taking a pay cut, well, can you imagine 10 months later and you’re still going through a process for just a whistleblower coming to the Congress and trying to inform us on issues he sees within the FBI? I think we could help you in the process if you would allow us, but in some ways, we have to look at this whistleblower and other whistleblowers and encourage them to come forward and be truthful with the American people. Two real quick questions. Why would the FBI offer Christopher Steele $1 million to verify a dossier about Trump/Russia collusion, and then the same FBI offer $3 million to Twitter to squash a story on the Hunter Biden laptop? Do you have any idea why a law enforcement agency would be playing in to elections?

Director Wray (01:58:15):

Well, you raised a number of different issues there. So first, as to the Steele dossier, that of course is a subject treated at great length in the Durham report, which we … and again, predates my time as director, which –

Mr. Morris (01:58:32):

I understand that, but it was the same agency paying $1 million to push one story out or try to collaborate one story and $3 million to be quiet on another story for a political opponents. I don’t quite understand.

Director Wray (01:58:41):

And then as to the second part related to Twitter, I would disagree with your characterization, respectfully. When there are payments to social media companies, that is by longstanding federal law going back I think about four decades, where we have to pay companies for their costs in responding to legal process. And it’s not just social media companies, it’s other kinds of businesses as well.

Mr. Morris (01:59:06):

Well, when those stories get out, and you understand, and certainly the dossier story … and I know that wasn’t under your watch, but also the Hunter Biden laptop story, that to me looks political. To the American people, it looks political. And I’m just an everyday guy. I’m not an attorney, Mr. Wray, just an everyday guy, but to me it looks extremely political. And that is why you’re having trouble keeping the FBI’s reputation afloat. So with that, Mr. Chairman, I’m going to yield the balance of my time, but I want to enter one thing to the record, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Jordan (01:59:31):

Can you do that after? Just yield, then we’ll enter it in the record afterwards?

Mr. Morris (01:59:33):

Sure. Sure.

Mr. Jordan (01:59:34):

Director Wray, did the FBI ask financial institutions to turn over their customers … yield the time to me. Did the FBI ask financial institutions to turn over their customers’ debit and credit card purchase history in the Washington, DC area for January 5th and 6th, 2021?

Director Wray (01:59:52):

I don’t know the answer to that as I sit here right now.

Mr. Jordan (01:59:54):

Well we do, because Bank of America gave us this email from the FBI to Bank of America.

Director Wray (01:59:59):

Well, I am aware that Bank of America provided information to the FBI, but what communications occurred between the FBI and Bank of America about it –

Mr. Jordan (02:00:07):

Let’s read it. “To recap our morning call, we are prepared to action the following threshold: customers transacting, debit card, credit card, Washington, DC, purchases between 1/5/21-1/6/21.” That’s scary enough. But then the next bullet point’s even more scary. “ANY historical …” capital letters, all capitals, “ANY historical purchase of a firearm.” You guys asked financials, at least Bank of America, we think more … did you guys ask them?

Director Wray (02:00:41):

Again, I don’t have the full sequence of the back and forth. It looks like you’ve got one email that I haven’t seen before here, so I don’t know that I have the full exchange that this is part of.

Mr. Jordan (02:00:49):

Well, does this email trouble you as much as it does members of the judiciary committee, that the FBI is asking for every single … I mean, we had members of Congress here that week. First time they’re getting sworn in as an new member of Congress, their family in town, and you’re sweeping … and they may happen to be a customer of America and you’re sweeping up every debit and credit card purchase of their family who were in town that week because their husband or their dad or their mom is getting sworn as a new member of Congress? And then you’re also overlaying that information with, “Did this person buy a firearm?”

Director Wray (02:01:22):

And the question is?

Mr. Jordan (02:01:24):

I’m just nervous about that. Are you nervous about that?

Director Wray (02:01:27):

As I think I’ve testified before, my understanding is that our engagement with Bank of America was fully lawful, but that we recalled the leads that were cut to field office –

Mr. Jordan (02:01:39):

Well, if it’s lawful … that was my next point. If it’s lawful, why did you say we’re not going to use these leads? That’s what Mr. Jensen testified to when we deposed him. The director of the terrorism unit at the FBI, that’s what he testified to. Why did you not use the leads if it was lawful to get the information?

Director Wray (02:01:55):

Well, there are plenty –

Mr. Moore (02:01:55):

Chairman, it’s one minute and 18 seconds over time.

Director Wray (02:01:59):

Sir, there are plenty of times where there are things that we lawfully can do, but that we decide is better than we not do, and I think that’s what happened.

Mr. Jordan (02:02:07):

Yeah, the idea that Mr. Massey said earlier, that this is lawful, that you can ask, this is scary. This is something else we’re going to have to change. With that I would yield to the recognized gentle lady from … excuse me, we got a unanimous consent request from Mr. Moore?

Mr. Moore (02:02:19):

Mr. Chairman, yes. The Wall Street Journal article I’d like to enter into the record says “Republicans Eye Sweet Home for New FBI Headquarters in Alabama.”

Mr. Jordan (02:02:26):

All right, without objection, the chair now recognizes the gentle lady from Texas for five minutes and then we’ll take a break, director.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:02:35):

Good afternoon. Thank you very much, director Wray, for your presence here. Thank you to the men and women of the FBI in particular for the work that you’ve done on gun violence, and as well the work that you’ve done in keeping the Americans safe. Let me very quickly move on some issues that have been made a chief part of the work of our friends on the other side of the aisle, Republican members of this committee, and spent much time of this Congress claiming that various aspects of the US government have been weaponized against the American people. Director Wray, are you or your staff or auxiliaries weaponizing the FBI against the American people?

Director Wray (02:03:11):

Absolutely not.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:03:13):

Thank you very much. Let me thank you as well for your civil rights work and emphasize that in addition, there have been representations that the FBI exaggerates domestic terrorism reports or data. Certainly January 6th had its many different storytellers, but that was an act of domestic terrorism. I don’t know how you could have exaggerated that, as evidenced by the special congressional committee we had, but let’s just think of domestic terrorism as it relates to the good men and women of our law enforcement. Take an example in February of 2020 in Texas, where a white supremacist was engaged in conspiracy involving swattie, a harassment tactic, and all of the emergency services showed up over and over again. Does domestic terrorism impact negatively and dangerously on America’s law enforcement and first responders?

Director Wray (02:04:11):

Absolutely. And sometimes law enforcement are themselves the intended victims or targets of domestic violent extremism.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:04:19):

Though you have good committed individuals, does … the critique is legitimate. That’s our job, but does the constant condemnation impact on morale of FBI personnel or those trying to join the FBI?

Director Wray (02:04:37):

Well look, our people are human beings and nobody likes to see the organization they’ve dedicated their careers, really their lives to, unfairly criticized, but I will tell you, as I said in my opening statement, that the good news is our people are also tough and resilient. Our attrition is in the low single digits and would be the envy of almost any employer. And our recruiting, unlike what’s happening in law enforcement more generally, is actually up very significantly.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:05:05):

Thank you. And I look forward to it being diverse. Let me start with a whistleblower journey here. Are you familiar with FBI special agent Kyle Serapin?

Director Wray (02:05:17):

I’m familiar with the name.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:05:19):

Is that yes?

Director Wray (02:05:21):

I’m familiar with the name.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:05:22):

Yeah. The committee heard testimony that Ms. Serapin was suspended after he mishandled his service weapon and then said he wanted to use two female FBI executives as shooting targets. That was testimony of Jennifer Moore HR, human resources, under oath from the FBI. Mr. Serapin describes himself as a congressional whistleblower, but committee Republicans will not tell us whether he has been in contact with them. Are you familiar with former FBI agents Garrett O’Boyle and Marcus Allen?

Director Wray (02:05:51):

Again, I’m familiar with the names.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:05:53):

Thank you. O’Boyle was suspended for assessing information about an ongoing case and then leaking to the press, and Allen was suspended for interfering in an investigation of a January 6th suspect. Both Allen and O’Boyle testified before the Weaponization Committee in May. Were you aware of that?

Director Wray (02:06:10):

Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:06:11):

I think they are clearly there for all friends and family to see. I assume they wanted to be seen. Do you know who Cash Patel is, if you know?

Director Wray (02:06:24):

Yes, I know who he is.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:06:25):

He’s an aide to President Trump, isn’t he? Or was an aide, or is an aide to President Trump?

Director Wray (02:06:31):

Well, he was an individual who served in a number of different roles both up here on the Hill –

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:06:36):

Thank you.

Director Wray (02:06:37):

– and in the executive branch.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:06:38):

Thank you. Here’s another picture. It’s the checks that Serapin sent to both O’Boyle and Allen. Each check was for $255,194. Let me say that again. These men were paid $255,194 after they testified as so-called whistleblowers, and it should be noted that it says here, as it says, ” for holding the line”. Director, at the time that Serapin and Patel gave Garrett O’Boyle and Marcus Allen these checks, do you happen to know if they were still employees of the FBI?

Director Wray (02:07:13):

I can’t speak to that. I don’t know the answer.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:07:15):

If they were, 5CFR22635 … and I’d appreciate if we could get an answer in writing after you go back, whether they were or not, prohibits FBI employees from accepting cash gifts, doesn’t it?

Director Wray (02:07:28):

Well, there are a whole number of rules that would apply to this. Again, I don’t want to weigh in on specific personnel.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:07:33):

But if they were, that rule applies about cash gifts?

Director Wray (02:07:39):

I’m not aware of a situation in which they could appropriately accept cash gifts.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:07:43):

No, just generally, if that applies to FBI agents about not taking cash gifts. Is that correct?

Director Wray (02:07:48):

There are definitely rules that apply to special agents –

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:07:51):

Thank you.

Director Wray (02:07:51):

– accepting cash gifts.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:07:52):

Thank you, sir. Let me just finish this. Can you explain why an FBI agent should not receive cash? But let me move to one that I think is extremely important. Mr. Chairman, just a moment. And here is what I think is the most interesting piece of this whole puzzle. O’Boyle and Allen are represented by an outfit called Empower Oversight –

Mr. Jordan (02:08:10):

Time’s expired.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:08:10):

Empower Oversight is run by former Republican staffers. Do you know who else Empower Oversight might represent in any way?

Mr. Johnson (02:08:17):

Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:08:20):

Let me just –

Mr. Johnson (02:08:21):

Gentle lady’s time expired.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:08:25):

Thank you so very much.

Mr. Jordan (02:08:26):

It’s fine.

Ms. Jackson Lee (02:08:27):

Thank you. The so-called IRS whistleblower who Jim Jordan had relied upon … but does anyone need any further proof that these allegations are [inaudible 02:08:37], corrupt political stunts advanced by those who don’t want to see us follow the law? Finally, Mr. Chairman, here’s another person who wants to join you on the 702, but the FBI has begun major reforms and I think we should recognize that You’ve been very kind. I yield back my time.

Mr. Jordan (02:08:53):

Gentle lady yields back. I would just point out my guess is they wanted the money because they’re trying to feed their family.

Mr. Johnson (02:09:02):

They actually haven’t received the money. I have unanimous consent request, Mr. Chairman, of a tweet Matthew Foldy put out here during this hearing. “Right off the bat, Jerry Nadler lies about whistleblower getting $250,000.” He says here, “Marcus Allen has not received $250,000. He has not received or cashed the check that Kyle Serapin posted online.” Enter that into the record.

Mr. Jordan (02:09:22):

Into the record. The committee will take a five-minute recess. Five minutes. Five minutes, then we’ll come back.

Mr. Jordan (02:20:37):

Hey, Tom.

Speaker 1 (02:20:39):

Oh, it’s Mr. Cline next.

Mr. Jordan (02:20:40):

Cline, that’s right. Cline then McClintock.


Committee will come back to order. The chair now recognizes the gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Cline.

Mr. Cline (02:20:50):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you for being here. Since we last spoke in appropriations on April 27th, special counsel, John Durham delivered his report detailing intelligence activities and investigations arising out of the 2016 presidential campaign.


When Mr. Durham presented here at the committee, I asked him these questions, he was able to answer me in yes or no answers. I’d ask you to do the same. Did the FBI have an adequate basis on which to launch Crossfire Hurricane?

Director Wray (02:21:19):

My understanding is that Mr. Durham found that it did not have a proper basis to elevate it to a full investigation, but that he thought it was an assessment, or a preliminary inquiry was appropriate.

Mr. Cline (02:21:31):

Did the FBI fail to examine all available exculpatory evidence?

Director Wray (02:21:39):

Well, did you say to examine it? Certainly, I think there were failures, significant failures with respect to exculpatory information.

Mr. Cline (02:21:47):

Did the FBI interview all key witnesses in Crossfire Hurricane?

Director Wray (02:21:55):

Mr. Durham, I think found that they did not.

Mr. Cline (02:21:59):

Did the FBI abuse its authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act?

Director Wray (02:22:04):

Well, certainly there were violations that were totally unacceptable, and in my view cannot be allowed to happen again.

Mr. Cline (02:22:12):

As noted in the report, Crossfire Hurricane investigators had hoped the returns on the Carter Page FISA application would “self-corroborate.” Do FBI or DOJ guidelines permit investigators to submit uncorroborated allegations in a FISA application in the hopes that the returns will self-corroborate?

Director Wray (02:22:28):

I’ve never heard of that concept.

Mr. Cline (02:22:30):

Okay. Is Crossfire Hurricane the only time the FBI has violated the procedures for the FISA process?

Director Wray (02:22:43):

Well, there are a lot of different procedures, but that’s certainly not the only compliance incidents that we’ve had with respect to FISA.

Mr. Cline (02:22:51):

Director, as I expressed to you upstairs, the American people are outraged, and just this week I had, at a town hall, constituents expressing outrage about the actions of those within your agency who have damaged the FBI’s reputation and undermined the work, the good work of the vast majority of hardworking men and women within your agency. But going down the list, you have the Biden family investigations, you have the anti-Catholic memo. By the way, you mentioned five individuals who contributed to the anti-Catholic memo in the Richmond Field office. Are they still employed by the FBI?

Director Wray (02:23:27):

I don’t think I mentioned any specific individuals. I did say that this was a product by a single field office that we took action on immediately, and we have an inspection that’s underway right now, that’s looking at how this happened and how we make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Mr. Cline (02:23:41):

So it’s still possible that individuals will be fired as a result of your review?

Director Wray (02:23:49):

Well, I don’t want to predetermine or forecast where the review will go. We’re going to look at everything from exactly how it happened and what went wrong. And then, if there are appropriate steps to be taken, we will take whatever the appropriate steps are.

Mr. Cline (02:24:02):

Okay. You have the violence against pro-life clinics, you have the investigation of parents speaking at school board meetings, you have the collusion with big tech. The FISA abuses at Section 702 is where I want focus right now. As you know, that Section 702 authorizes warrantless surveillance, is supposed to be targeted toward foreigners abroad, but the surveillance sweeps in a large amount of Americans’ communications, and the FBI routinely runs searches of Section 702 data, looking for phone calls, emails, text messages of Americans, so-called backdoor searches. Depending on the year, FBI has conducted anywhere from 3.4 million in 2021 to 200,000 in 2022. Given this fact, do you honestly think it’s fair to continue describing Section 702 as an authority targeted only at foreigners abroad?

Director Wray (02:24:45):

I do.

Mr. Cline (02:24:46):

It looks like a framework that enables the FBI to spy on countless Americans. Would you agree with that assessment?

Director Wray (02:24:52):

Well, I can’t speak to what it looks like to certain people. I can tell you that it is an authority focused on foreigners overseas in the countries of national security investigations.


I would add to that, that the FBI’s piece of that, the FBI only accesses, so everything we’re talking about FBI related only goes to about 3% of the entire 702 collection. And then, within that 3%, this is important now-

Mr. Cline (02:25:16):

Okay, I have 30 seconds.

Director Wray (02:25:17):

It’s important that people understand this. The FBI ends up only accessing content in like 1.5% percent of that. So a little-

Mr. Cline (02:25:26):

I understand.

Director Wray (02:25:26):

… context is appropriate.

Mr. Cline (02:25:27):

Well, if you’re conducting hundreds of thousands or even just hundreds of warrantless searches of Section 702 data from Americans’ communications, it’s clearly a domestic surveillance tool.


And I would argue that I believe it does pose a real problem within the FBI’s conduct toward Americans. And I speak for many when I say I think it poses a real problem for the reauthorization of FISA authority for your organization.


So with that, I yield back.

Ms. Scanlon (02:25:58):

Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you Director Wray for being here. I am troubled by many of the statements and questions we’ve heard today that embrace conspiracy theories and disinformation. And with these comments, it appears that some of my colleagues are trying to sow division and score political points rather than conduct legitimate oversight of the actual actions and policies of the FBI. I, like many Americans, would rather Congress focus on doing the people’s business and ensuring that the FBI is able to do its job and do it well within the bounds of our constitution and laws.


Now, one of the most serious issues facing American communities now is drug abuse, particularly opioids and fentanyl. And in your opening remarks, you mentioned the arrest of 31 U.S. citizens in northeast Ohio just a couple weeks ago, most hailing from Marion, for drug trafficking. Can you just take a minute, because I have some other questions, to describe what the FBI is doing to end the scourge of fentanyl and what additional tools you might need from Congress?

Director Wray (02:27:02):

So the FBI is attacking the scourge of fentanyl coming from the southwest border in particular in a variety of ways.


One, we are using our organized crime task forces to target the supply, the cartels in particular.


Two, we’re using our safe streets task forces to go after the gangs that are principally responsible, violent gangs, for distributing a lot of this all over our streets. Third, we’re targeting provider abuse, pill mills and things like that, through our healthcare fraud authorities.


Fourth, we have something called J-code, which focuses on the trafficking of fentanyl on the dark web, which is a real problem, and we’ve had a number of various significant takedowns there.


We’re also doing things like engaging in outreach, raising awareness. We put out a video called Chasing the Dragon with the DEA that has been showed at a lot of schools around the country. We’re trying to work with the health community. So there’s a lot of things that we’re doing, but this is a, it’s an epidemic. I don’t think that’s an overstatement. And it’s something that requires all hands on deck.

Ms. Scanlon (02:28:12):

Okay. And if there are things you think Congress can help you with, please submit that to us afterwards.


Another major threat to our nation is domestic terrorism, and that’s something you’ve spoken about repeatedly. Like many Americans, I find it unpatriotic and dangerous when members of Congress embrace dangerous conspiracy theories that undermine our federal law enforcement and ultimately our democracy. And I find it disingenuous for members of Congress to harangue the head of the FBI about people losing faith in the FBI when those same members have been trumpeting lies and conspiracy theories about the agency for months. Words matter, they have consequences. And when leaders lie or embrace disinformation, that’s dangerous.


In recent years, we’ve seen increasing threats and violence levied against public servants at all levels, including journalists, elected officials, election workers, doctors, nurses, school officials, teachers, librarians, and more. And what these public servants have in common is they became targets for threats and violence when they had the guts to stand up to lies and conspiracy theories promulgated by the former president and his allies.


We’ve seen MAGA extremists, Fox News pundits, Russian internet trolls, and elected officials parrot conspiracy theories and use heated language to convince the American public without facts that dedicated public servants are dangerous enemies who should be feared. Most Americans understand that this is not legitimate political discourse and that this kind of overheated and fact-free rhetoric can in fact encourage political violence. It’s not normal and it should not be part of American public life.


So Director Wray, you’ve repeatedly testified about the serious threat that domestic violence extremists present to Americans, and these are people who commit violent and criminal acts in furtherance of social or political goals, whether racial and ethnic motivation or anti-government motivation. Can you talk about the role that mistrust in government and disinformation and conspiracy theories play in the radicalization and recruitment of extremists?

Director Wray (02:30:17):

Well, certainly there’s a whole host of misconceptions that are out there about any number of institutions, whether it’s law enforcement, whether it’s the Supreme Court, or whether it’s any number of other institutions that in the environment that we’re in, where there are people who increasingly channel their rage into violence, that causes a problem. There is a right way, under the First Amendment, to express what you’re angry about and who you’re angry with. And we take that very seriously and view, as part of our mission, not just to protect the American people, but to uphold the Constitution. But when those views are then turned into violence and threats of violence, then we got a problem. And then, I think the FBI has to act.

Ms. Scanlon (02:31:12):

Thank you. I see my time has expired, but I would seek unanimous consent to introduce into the record a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Ohio entitled 31 Individuals Involved in a Drug Trafficking Organization in Marion County and Lorain County Indicted.

Mr. Jordan (02:31:27):

Without objection.

Ms. Scanlon (02:31:28):

Thank you.

Director Wray (02:31:29):

The chair recognizes the gentleman from California.

Mr. McClintock (02:31:34):

Thank you. Mr. Director, when we abandoned Afghanistan, we released about 5,000 terrorists from the Parwan Detention Facility. One of those terrorists showed up at Abbey Gate 10 days later and killed 13 U.S. Marines. Where are the other 5,000?

Director Wray (02:31:55):

I don’t know that I can tell you where all 5,000 are.

Mr. McClintock (02:31:58):

Well, let me put it more simply. Have you encountered any here in the United States?

Director Wray (02:32:03):

We have quite a few ongoing investigations into foreign terrorist related subjects, whether they’re Al-Qaeda related or ISIS related, that we’re conducting as you and I are having this conversation and certainly-

Mr. McClintock (02:32:23):

So have you encountered any from Parwan here in the United States?

Director Wray (02:32:31):

Specifically, I’m not sure I can say that. Let me follow up and make sure if there’s anything more I can provide you on that.

Mr. McClintock (02:32:36):

Well, meanwhile, we’ve had about one and a half million known got-aways cross the border as this crisis has unfolded. Any estimate of how many of those 5,000 among the one and a half million known got-aways may be terrorists?

Director Wray (02:32:53):

I know that we have seen an uptick, which is obviously concerning to me, and I can tell from your question, concerning to you. In KSTs, as we call them, known or suspected terrorists coming across the southwest border, and our folks are working very hard to try to do our part to try to keep tabs on those individuals.

Mr. McClintock (02:33:15):

Speaking of upticks, have we seen an uptick in criminal cartel or cartel related gang activity in the United States over the last several years?

Director Wray (02:33:23):

Yes. The cartels working in kind of an unholy alliance with dangerous, violent gangs here in the U.S. are responsible not just for the abominable distribution of fentanyl all over the country, but also an awful lot of the violence that comes along with it.

Mr. McClintock (02:33:42):

And that’s coming principally across our southern border?

Director Wray (02:33:45):

That’s a huge driver of it, certainly.

Mr. McClintock (02:33:47):

Huge driver. It’s reported we’ve lost contact with the guardians of more than 85,000 unaccompanied minors who’ve been brought here by the cartels through the southern border. How many of these children are still unaccounted for?

Director Wray (02:34:00):

That, I’m not sure we have the answer to that. That may be a question for DHS.

Mr. McClintock (02:34:06):

What’s the Woods Procedure?

Director Wray (02:34:08):

The Woods Procedure is a procedure for… Has nothing to do with 702. It has to do with traditional FISA, Title I FISA as we call it, and involves having files that have all the underlying documents to support each of the factual assertions in an application.

Mr. McClintock (02:34:26):

Is that important to the integrity of FISA applications?

Director Wray (02:34:29):

Yes, sir.

Mr. McClintock (02:34:30):

In February 2020, you assured the committee that you took these FISA abuses seriously, that you were working to address them. A year and a half later, the Office of the Inspector-General reported that you weren’t. They reported systemic non-compliance and essentially that some FBI field personnel took the Woods Procedure as a joke. If we can’t trust your past reforms, how seriously should we take your promises of future reform?

Director Wray (02:34:57):

I appreciate the opportunity to address this one. So that OIG finding actually applies to, number one, that applies to compliance problems that occurred before all the fixes that I was testifying to you all about. Even though the report came out later, it was covering a time period that predated all of the fixes and reforms we put in place.

Mr. McClintock (02:35:18):

Well, your general counsel assured Mr. Durham that the abuses would not have happened because of the new procedures for supervisorial review, yet some of the worst abuses in Crossfire Hurricane were committed by supervisory agents. So why should we have any great confidence that’s not going to happen again?

Director Wray (02:35:35):

There’s a couple different sets of reforms here. So the first is on the reforms that we put in place in response to the inspector-general’s Crossfire Hurricane report.

Mr. McClintock (02:35:44):

But we can’t trust your supervisors, is the problem. The problem seems to be that this power exists at all, and human beings being what they are, will tend to abuse them.


Could you describe the term parallel construction as it relates to evidence produced in FISA searches?

Director Wray (02:36:01):

Parallel construction?

Mr. McClintock (02:36:01):


Director Wray (02:36:02):

I’m not sure I’ve used that term before.

Mr. McClintock (02:36:03):

Doesn’t that refer to the FBI using forbidden information from a 702 search to alert local law enforcement to search for and then produce the same material without revealing that it came from an improper search?

Director Wray (02:36:14):

I’m just not sure about the use of the term.

Mr. McClintock (02:36:17):

Well, has the FBI ever employed that particular tactic in prosecuting American citizens?

Director Wray (02:36:24):

Not to my knowledge. But again, I can look into that and get back to you.

Mr. McClintock (02:36:28):

What percentage of FISA warrant applications are rejected by the FISA Court?

Director Wray (02:36:34):

I don’t know that we have that number. There’s usually a back and forth with the court. It’s not unusual for the court to-

Mr. McClintock (02:36:41):

It’s a fraction of percentage, isn’t it?

Director Wray (02:36:45):

A fraction of a percentage?

Mr. McClintock (02:36:47):


Director Wray (02:36:47):

I don’t know if that’s right, but it’s definitely a small number. And I think that’s partly because our folks learn over time what the report expects.

Mr. McClintock (02:36:54):

Which makes that sound an awful lot like a rubber stamp. I see my time’s expired. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (02:36:59):

The gentleman yields back. The gentlelady from Georgia is recognized.

Ms. McBath (02:37:01):

Thank you, Chairman. Good afternoon, Director Wray. Thank you for coming before the judiciary committee this afternoon, and I have read your testimony.


I want to redirect this questioning for a moment and I want to focus on the important work that the FBI is tasked with when it continues to do its work with gun violence prevention and keeping our community safe. As of today, there have been over 300 mass shootings. That’s more than the number of days that we have in this year. And statistics will continue to show us over and over again that during the summer these numbers continue to rise.


Extreme risk protection orders play an important role in law enforcement’s response to preventing mass shootings from happening. And what are also known as red flag laws or orders, they empower law enforcement, along with family members and household members, to petition a court to actually have an individual that appears to be in crisis have those firearms just temporarily taken away or removed from them with a court order, to be returned during expiration of that order.


I have a few questions for you, so if you can answer as directly as you can, I appreciate it. Family members and members of law enforcement can often identify individuals who would pose a risk to themselves or to others within the community when they actually possess a gun. As the head of the United States federal law enforcement agency, do you believe that these red flag laws and these programs enhance public safety?

Director Wray (02:38:35):

I don’t want to speak on behalf of any specific legislative proposal, but I will say that I know from experience that a number of states have had good experiences with those laws.

Ms. McBath (02:38:47):

Thank you. And in the past several years, several states have actually enacted those extremist protection orders. In total, we actually have 21 states, and the District of Columbia have enacted their own forms of red flag laws. If a person who is subject to such an order tries to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearm dealer, would the FBI approve or deny the sale?

Director Wray (02:39:09):

Well, I believe if the order is required by state law, making it a state prohibitor, and therefore is loaded into the NICS system, then when the background check is run, when the FFL, the federal firearms licensee contacts NICS to proceed with the sale, that would pick up the order that you’re talking about. And if that’s a prohibitor, then that would block the transaction, is my understanding.

Ms. McBath (02:39:47):

So in the absence of an application or applicable state law, is there a way for the FBI agent to seek an order under federal law?

Director Wray (02:39:58):

I’m not aware of any federal law to that effect.

Ms. McBath (02:40:02):

Exactly. If an FBI agent has information that someone has been violent many times in the past but is not able to seek a criminal conviction, is there a way for the FBI to deny the sale of a gun to that person?

Director Wray (02:40:17):

We only deny sales for people who are prohibited by law from possessing firearms.

Ms. McBath (02:40:24):

My bill, the Federal Extreme Risk Protection Order Act, which was passed by the House last Congress, would provide Americans in all states access to these truly lifesaving measures. I have reintroduced this bill again this term. Last summer, Congress also passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, among other critical gun violence provisions in that, the legislation begins to address the problem of gun trafficking.


What steps has the FBI taken to implement or utilize this new law that actually helps to stop gun trafficking?

Director Wray (02:41:01):

Well, we’re of course working closely with the Justice Department to implement all the provisions of the laws that relate to NICS in particular. The place that has had the biggest impact on us is certainly on the additional checks that now would be run for the 18 to 20 year olds. And we started implementing that last October. It was fully implemented starting in January. And it’s a big change for us and for the state agencies that are on the receiving end of the request for information, as well as for the FFLs, both the big stores and the mom and pops. It’s a big change in the system. I think we’ve done about 100,000 or so checks of this 18 to 20, in other words U-21 group that we’re talking about, since the implementation of the act. Those are not all denials, to be clear. In fact, the vast, vast, vast majority of them were sales that appropriately proceeded. But there were some that were of course denials based on the statute.

Ms. McBath (02:42:15):

Thank you so much. I’m out of time.

Mr. Jordan (02:42:16):

Time of the gentlelady has expired. The gentleman from Texas is recognized.

Mr. Roy (02:42:19):

Thank you, Chairman. Thank you, Director Wray for appearing.


Brian Auten was one of the FBI intelligence analysts who interviewed Igor Danchenko, the principal source of the Steele dossier in January 2017. Correct?

Director Wray (02:42:32):

I believe that’s in the Durham Report.

Mr. Roy (02:42:35):

And Danchenko explained that the dossier allegations were BS, yet the FBI did not reveal that to the FISA Court. Instead, the FBI continued to use those allegations in two more sworn FISA applications about President Trump and Putin. Correct?

Director Wray (02:42:51):

Well, again, I want to let Mr. Durham’s report speak for itself.

Mr. Roy (02:42:53):

Okay. But as director of the FBI, those are the facts. Of the FBI under your watch, the FBI conducted-

Director Wray (02:42:58):

Well, no, sir. I’m sorry. Just, it’s important, not under my watch, those are the facts that happened before I became director.

Mr. Roy (02:43:04):

I’m getting to the part under your watch.

Director Wray (02:43:05):


Mr. Roy (02:43:06):

The FBI conducted an internal investigation of Auten and sought to suspend him, but Auten appealed. Correct?

Director Wray (02:43:13):

I can’t discuss a specific pending personnel matter.

Mr. Roy (02:43:17):

Okay. Well, according to recent reports, those are the facts. Nevertheless, in 2020, after Senators Grassley and Johnson highlighted evidence of potential financial crimes and corruption against the Biden family, the FBI assigned Auten to compile an assessment which was used to characterize the Biden revelations as Russian disinformation. The evidence Grassley and Johnson had collected were mostly financial records and could easily have been corroborated as authentic. And by then, the FBI had the Hunter laptop in its possession for over a year. So it knew the lucrative payments of the Bidens from corrupt and anti-American regimes were authentic.


How on Earth did the FBI empower an agent under investigation for potentially corrupt performance and abuse of FISA in one politically fraud investigation, a Democrat operative-driven case against President Trump, to play a key role and to undermine a second politically fraught investigation, a case against the Bidens? How’s that possible? How can you allow that to occur in the Federal Bureau of Investigations? My colleagues on the other side of the aisle say the elite law enforcement agency of the United States, how does that occur?

Director Wray (02:44:23):

I can’t at the moment discuss a pending personnel matter. I can tell you that every employee who in any way touched the Crossfire Hurricane matter has been referred to our Office of Professional Responsibility, our disciplinary office-

Mr. Roy (02:44:39):

Are you concerned about this activity by the FBI and what was communicated to the FISA Court? Does that concern you as the director of the FBI?

Director Wray (02:44:47):

I consider the conduct that was described in the Durham Report as totally unacceptable and unrepresentative of what I see from the FBI every day, and must never be allowed to happen again.

Mr. Roy (02:44:59):

And have there been consequences as a result? Mr. Auten, has he had consequences?

Director Wray (02:45:04):

Well, again, I can’t speak to pending personnel matters, as you would perhaps remember from your own time in law enforcement. Because we were working closely with Mr. Durham and I assigned agents to help him, at his request, we slowed down the administrative process to allow his investigation to complete itself. Now that it is complete, our personnel processes are very much ongoing.

Mr. Roy (02:45:26):

Well, I think it is more than troubling that under your watch we see that this continued to occur and you have Auten being continued to be empowered after there was an investigation and after there was an effort by the FBI to look into why he would go to the FISA Court and give the wrong information. I mean, the issue here has been wrapped up in a cloud of politics. But the fact is the American people deserve to know how the FISA Court is being abused and how it’s being abused against the former president and against them in light of the reports that we saw Mr. Johnson from Louisiana put forward that was in a court filing and a court report.


I want to move on to another topic. On September 23rd, 2022, 20 heavily armed agents stormed the home of Mark Houck. You’re familiar with this?

Director Wray (02:46:09):

I’m familiar with the Houck case a little bit, yes.

Mr. Roy (02:46:11):

And this was after Mr. Houck’s lawyer reached out and said he would appear voluntarily because the incident in question occurred almost in a year earlier, in October of 2021, so a year earlier.


And the question here I have, local authorities investigated the incident but concluded there was no case. After the jury met for roughly an hour, Houck was acquitted. How on Earth did Mark Houck end up having the FBI send several armed agents along with local authorities to arrest him at gunpoint? And do you approve it? Did you approve of that?

Director Wray (02:46:44):

Well, let me start where you ended. Decisions about the manner of an arrest are not something that the FBI director approves. I defer to and rely on the judgment of the experienced career agents on the ground who have both the most intimate understanding of the facts and of the training experience to decide how best to effectuate an arrest safely.

Mr. Roy (02:47:06):

Do you know who did order it?

Director Wray (02:47:08):

My understanding is that that arrest was conducted in our Philadelphia division by career agents with a combined 40 years of FBI experience.

Mr. Roy (02:47:20):

Do you approve of the raid now in retrospect?

Director Wray (02:47:22):


Mr. Roy (02:47:22):

Do you think it was appropriate?

Director Wray (02:47:23):


Mr. Roy (02:47:25):

Do you think it was appropriate for a father to have armed FBI agents, along with local agents, go to his home, arrest him at gunpoint for alleged violation of the FACE Act a year after the alleged incident, after the father had said through his lawyer that he would appear voluntarily? Do you believe that FBI agents should go to the home of a father in Philadelphia suburbs?

Director Wray (02:47:51):

I’m not going to second guess the judgment of the career agents on the ground who made that determination. I think your description-

Mr. Roy (02:47:58):

But your job is to second guess and look at what they are doing. Your job is to review what they do. Your job is to protect the American people from a tyrannical FBI storming the home of an American family.

Director Wray (02:48:08):

I could not disagree more with your description of the FBI as tyrannical. And I think your-

Mr. Roy (02:48:13):

You don’t believe it’s tyrannical that FBI agents were a part of storming a father’s home-

Mr. Jordan (02:48:17):

Time of the gentleman-

Mr. Roy (02:48:18):

… in suburban Philadelphia?

Mr. Jordan (02:48:18):

Time of the gentleman’s-

Speaker 2 (02:48:18):

Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Jordan (02:48:20):

Time of the gentleman’s expired. The witness may respond and then we’ll move to our next member.

Director Wray (02:48:24):

So, respectfully, they did not storm his house. They came to his door, they knocked on his door and identified themself. They asked him to exit. He did without incident.

Mr. Roy (02:48:41):

Armed at gunpoint?

Director Wray (02:48:41):

Well, not at gunpoint. Whenever our agents conduct an arrest, they’re armed. Our agents are armed virtually all the time, as you may remember from your own experience as a prosecutor.

Mr. Jordan (02:48:52):

The gentleman yields back. The ranking member has a unanimous consent request.

Speaker 3 (02:48:57):

I ask unanimous consent that this document be placed in the record.

Speaker 4 (02:49:01):

No, no, no. Be specific.

Mr. Jordan (02:49:05):

That’s not too specific.

Speaker 3 (02:49:06):

I ask consent to enter the full January 15th, 2021 email thread between Bank of America and the FBI that is about threats to Inauguration Day, instead of the edited version that was shown on the screen earlier.

Mr. Jordan (02:49:16):

I’m happy to have that into the record. Without objection. We champion that. We’re going to bring that up again here if we get a chance.


The gentlelady from Pennsylvania is recognized.

Ms. Dean (02:49:25):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, good to see you. I thank you for being here today. And I just want to remind those who are watching at home or here in the room, that we are here as an oversight function. We are not here as a political tool to hammer you or your 38,000 public servants, law enforcement men and women, and to try to use you politically, but it surely doesn’t feel that way all the time during this. So, I thank you for your service. I thank the men and women for their service.


I have a first cousin, technically, I guess a first cousin-in-law, who for a very long time in the Philadelphia suburb served as an FBI agent with integrity and honor. So I think of him. I think of Jack today as I’m doing this.


I read your testimony often. Over and over, you state the mission of FBI, to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Twofold, protect the American people, uphold the Constitution. Do it by the rule of law. That’s what we should be asking about. Are we doing that to the best of our ability?


I want to use and examine the case of the Mar-a-Lago documents, because it’s been used by the former president as a pitying moment, as though he has somehow been victimized, but none of that is normal. These are serious times and your people have serious missions about the safety of the American people and doing it lawfully.


Director Wray, a ballroom, a bathroom, a bedroom, are those appropriate places to store classified, confidential information?

Director Wray (02:51:05):

Well, again, I don’t want to be commenting on the pending case, but I will say that there are specific rules about where to store classified information, and that those need to be stored in a SCIF, a secure compartmentalized information facility. And in my experience, ballrooms, bathrooms, and bedrooms are not SCIFs.

Ms. Dean (02:51:25):

Mine too. And yet, that is where the former president chose to put vital information about our national security. He exacerbated the risk, as alleged in the damning 37 count indictment, by evading law enforcement and allegedly even showing some of these classified documents to others who were not either in a SCIF or up to having these informations sent to him.


It was January 20th, having lost the election, 2021, when at noon Mr. Trump had to leave the White House. And of course, it’s shown in the affidavit and in the indictment that he left with quite a few boxes. May of 2021, the National Archives emailed requesting the missing documents from Mr. Trump. His lawyer said that he would provide them and then never did.


January 18 of 2022, so we’re talking a full year later, Mr. Trump finally turned over 15 boxes, 14 of them contained documents with classified markings, 30 documents top secret.


June 2022, this is now a year and a half later, DOJ and FBI recover an additional 38 classified documents from Mar-a-Lago, your FBI, our FBI. A lawyer from Mr. Trump signed a statement at that point, to the best of her knowledge, she said all classified materials had been returned. But surveillance footage of course showed that wasn’t the case.


And in August of 2022, a federal judge approved a warrant to search Mar-a-Lago. This was not a raid, as some on the other side would like to have a pity party for Mr. Trump. This was not a raid. They then retrieved another 102 documents with classified markings.


300 and some documents taken by the president, improperly stored, and then tried to evade and obstruct justice, as is alleged.


Do you think that the FBI went over the top or was out of line in your participation in retrieving these documents?

Director Wray (02:53:36):

Well, again, I don’t want to discuss the specifics of a pending case, but from everything I’ve seen, our folks in this case have proceeded honorably and in strict compliance with our policies, our rules, and our best practices.

Ms. Dean (02:53:51):

And it seems from what overview we can do, I’m taking a look here at the affidavit to get the search warrant to go on in, it was one of your special agents assigned from the Washington Field Office. Obviously, we don’t know who. But pointed out and made the case for probable cause to go in and to collect these documents.


So let’s take a look at the flip side. What’s the harm? What’s the danger to either human assets, your employees, national security for Mr. Trump holding onto, moving around, showing top secret documents? Where’s the harm, 18 months of this going on?

Director Wray (02:54:30):

Well, again, respectfully, I’m not going to comment or weigh in on a case that’s now pending in front of federal judges. But speaking more generally, the rules governing the handling of classified information are there for a reason and people need to be very mindful of those rules. And unfortunately, the FBI has, as a steady part of its docket, a number of investigations involving mishandling. And the reason those rules are there

Director Wray (02:55:00):

… is because classified information, if it gets into the wrong hands, can put human sources in jeopardy. It can put other kinds of intelligence collection at jeopardy. It can jeopardize our partnerships with foreign liaison services, which are really the lifeblood of the intelligence community in many ways.


So it’s serious business and it needs to be taken seriously. But again, I’m not speaking about a particular case, I’m just speaking generally.

Representative Dean (02:55:29):

I very much appreciate it. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate it, but I do want to just point out to the world, none of this is normal. It was not normal what took place here. And I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (02:55:38):

Gentlelady yields back. Bedroom, bathroom, ballroom, how about a box in a garage in-

Speaker 5 (02:55:43):

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman?

Mr. Jordan (02:55:44):

… a beach house in Delaware and the Biden Center. I don’t think those are SCIFs either-

Speaker 5 (02:55:47):

Mr. Chairman, point of order.

Mr. Jordan (02:55:49):

The gentleman from Texas is recognized.

Representative Gooden (02:55:51):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


I want to talk about China, but before I do, I want to just comment. In the last exchange with Mr. Roy, I heard you say certain practices were outrageous to you. And I appreciated that. And I think maybe we would’ve liked to have heard more of that this hearing, about things, acknowledging failures.


I realize there are a lot of positives to talk about, but we do as a committee want to work with you. When Chairman Jordan ask why so much is redacted in a document, could we perhaps sit down with you, even if it’s privately and you tell us why that needs to be the case? If we ask for the names of these employees that were behind the Catholic issue in Virginia, can we get a commitment that we’ll eventually get those names?


I didn’t hear that in that exchange with Mr. Jordan.

Director Wray (02:56:39):

Well, you certainly have my commitment that we will work collaboratively with the committee. We obviously have rules that govern what we can share and we have to be mindful of those two. But in my experience, that’s what the longstanding accommodation process between the executive branch, especially law enforcement agencies and Congress is there for. And we absolutely will pursue that in good faith. I know we’ve been providing enormous amount of information, and if there are places that we can do better on that, we want to try to do better on that. Again, consistent with our rules. I’m very mindful of the fact that the whole reason I’m in this job is because my predecessor was fired and in a fairly scathing inspector general report, one of the things he was criticized for was sharing more information both with the public and frankly, with Congress than was consistent with federal rules.

Representative Gooden (02:57:33):

Thank you. Thank you for that pledge.


Now to China. Most Americans don’t realize, I don’t think that US companies doing business in China are required to have joint venture agreements. That’s been around since 2017 or ’18, I believe. And it requires the Chinese Communist Party to have political cells within these enterprises, American enterprises in China.


In the last few weeks, it has come to my attention that they’ve taken that up a notch and actually gone further, the Chinese have, and said that not only must they be present and have access, but they now control these American businesses. So they’re in essence nationalizing American enterprises in China. And the CEOs I’ve talked to are afraid to say something. They say they’ve come to the FBI. The FBI, I think is aware of this. I’m about to turn it over to you.


My question is, is this happening and what can be done about it? What do we need to do about it?

Director Wray (02:58:29):

Well, I think you’ve put your finger on a very important issue, and frankly one that does not get the attention that it really deserves. So I appreciate you bringing it up.


I will say that in my view, there is no country, none, that presents a broader, more comprehensive threat to our ideas, our innovation, our economic security than the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party. And in many ways it represents, I think, the defining threat of our era.


And when it comes specifically to the business community, while there’s no law against joint ventures, the problem that we have is that the Chinese government all too often has exploited those joint ventures, to then use them as ways to get improper access to companies secrets and information.

Representative Gooden (02:59:21):

Do you find that they have stepped it up though to where they are in essence nationalizing US companies quietly?

Director Wray (02:59:26):

In a variety of ways, I hadn’t really thought of using that term, but I think you’re onto a very important point. I’ll give you an example that I think a lot of people in America still don’t know about and would be shocked to hear, which is that really any company of any size in China is required, required by Chinese law to have what they quaintly call a committee, which is essentially a cell inside the company whose sole function is to ensure that company’s compliance with Chinese Communist Party orthodoxy.


If we tried to install something like that in American companies or if the British tried to do it in British companies or any number of other places, people would go out of their minds and rightly so.

Representative Gooden (03:00:08):

Agreed. Well, thank you. I’d like to work with you more on that. And I’d yield the balance of my time to the Chairman. Thank you.

Mr. Jordan (03:00:14):

But that’s exactly what you did and the judge said it last week. Every week you were meeting with big tech companies saying, “Hey, look at this. This violates your policy, take this speech of Americans down.” You were doing the same darn thing you just described the Chinese about.


And can we put up the email that Mr. Nadler entered in the unanimous consent request? Can we put this up from the FBI to Bank of America? Because I want to know something. This is the full email. Go to the bullet point where it says: “Any historical purchase going back six months generally for weapons, weapons related vendor purchase.” You see that, Director? You see that bullet point, the one that says any in all caps, that bullet point? This is the email. How did you know? How would you know if it’s a firearm purchase? How is the FBI going to know this? Put your mic on, please.

Director Wray (03:01:10):

I’m sorry. I’m not going to start engaging on specific correspondence. I don’t have the whole string here. As I’ve said before, my understanding is that our engagement with Bank of America was lawful, but that we also took steps, as we discussed in our earlier exchange-

Mr. Jordan (03:01:23):

Well, if it’s lawful, why’d you take steps not to use the material? You can’t have it both ways.

Director Wray (03:01:27):

I disagree with that actually.

Mr. Jordan (03:01:29):


Director Wray (03:01:30):

There are plenty of things that we lawfully can do that we decide are better not to do, and that’s my understanding is what happened here.

Mr. Jordan (03:01:37):

Wow. Wow. Chair recognizes the gentlelady from Texas for five minutes.

Representative Escobar (03:01:43):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you for your testimony and thank you for your public service.


Last week, in my district and my hometown of El Paso, Texas, a domestic, violent extremist was sentenced to 90 consecutive life terms for a horrific attack he carried out on my community on August 3rd, 2019.


On that day, he confessed that he drove over 10 hours from his community in East Texas to mine in order to slaughter Mexicans and immigrants. And before he walked into that Walmart, he published his screed online. And he used some of the same ugly, xenophobic rhetoric that I hear my colleagues on the other side of the aisle use. And then he walked into that Walmart with an automatic style weapon and began shooting indiscriminately. He killed 23 people, injured dozens more, and my community remains profoundly impacted by that attack. And the victims and the survivors and the loved ones still live with profound pain and trauma.


What is the FBI doing, Director Wray, in response to racially motivated domestic terrorism?

Director Wray (03:03:13):

Well, first, let me say I feel your pain. I actually visited the Walmart crime scene shortly after the attack and spent time with our folks on the ground who were processing the crime scene in blistering heat in the parking lot there, and obviously got briefed by the investigative team and met with our local partners. And obviously, it was a horrific, tragic event. And the individual stories about some of the individual victims stick with me to this day.


As to the broader phenomenon of racially motivated violent extremism, we have done a number of things. We elevated it to a national threat priority back in the summer of 2019, I believe it was, which means that it is squarely in scope of all of our joint terrorism task forces and treated as a priority at the top level. That’s our highest level of priority.


We also have engaged, we created a domestic terrorism hate crimes fusion cell. And you might wonder what’s the point of that? Well, what we found was that sometimes the same acts of violence could either be called a hate crime or it could be called an active domestic violent extremism. And in the way the FBI is structured, the first is treated by our criminal investigative division. The second is focused on by our counter-terrorism division. By bringing the two subject matter experts together, we could make sure that we are not letting anything slip through the cracks and more importantly we can be proactive in thinking ahead.


And that same fusion cell, for example, was then very important in us identifying and preventing a potentially devastating attack against a synagogue outside of Colorado. It was really one of the first times in recent memory that a hate crimes prosecution was able to be preventative. All too often, unfortunately, those cases are brought after there’s a horrific attack. So we were very proud of disrupting that plot.

Representative Escobar (03:05:26):

Thank you so much, Director Wray. I’m also very curious about what steps you’ve taken to improve coordination between the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security in terms of reporting the domestic terrorism data.

Director Wray (03:05:41):

Well, there were a number of places. This gets a little bit technical, but the reports that Congress called for, I’ve had a number of engagements with Senator Peters on the senate side about this, where data about how many domestic terrorism attacks there had been and which cases there were. I think there were different ways in which the two agencies, what they were counting and so forth.


So in order to get better at providing that information, as required by Congress, we’ve worked more and more closely with DHS on ensuring a common set of metrics and so forth to make sure that the reports are getting in on time and that they’re complete. We still have some work to do to make them better, but I think we’ve made significant progress.

Representative Escobar (03:06:33):

I appreciate it. That data is critically important as you know. I’m just about out of time. Thanks again for your service. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (03:06:41):

Excuse me, gentlelady yields back. The gentlelady from Florida is recognized.

Representative Lee (03:06:45):

Good afternoon, Director Wray.


Director, how many sworn special agents are there currently in the United States?

Director Wray (03:06:51):

You mean outside the FBI?

Representative Lee (03:06:53):

Oh, no, in the FBI.

Director Wray (03:06:54):

Just in the FBI, I think we have about 14,000 or so FBI special agents.

Representative Lee (03:07:00):

And they are spread across field offices and resident agencies in the US and in some cases around the world. Is that right?

Director Wray (03:07:06):


Representative Lee (03:07:07):

All right. Now, as a former federal prosecutor and judge, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a number of men and women of the FBI from my home state. And one thing that I know and that we’ve heard in your testimony today is that you all have very broad responsibilities.


Is it correct to say that the FBI, among other things, investigates counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, cyber crime, public corruption, civil rights offenses, transnational organized crime, violent crime, and domestic terrorism?

Director Wray (03:07:40):

And then other things as well, but yes.

Representative Lee (03:07:41):

Yes. And in addition to that, would you agree with the statement that the Bureau provides important support to local law enforcement agencies around the country on those subjects and others?

Director Wray (03:07:51):

I would say indispensable support. And something I hear about, I’m talking with chiefs and sheriffs probably every week in this job since I’ve started. And if there’s one refrain I hear from them consistently is, “Keep it coming, we need it. Can you give us even more help?” And that’s what I hear from them.

Representative Lee (03:08:09):

I’d like to focus on the subject of domestic terrorism today. And when we talk about domestic terrorism, the Bureau’s work includes investigating and bringing to justice those who would do profound harm to the homeland given the opportunity. And the Bureau has been involved in cases involving hate crimes, violent extremists, and even some of our country’s most notorious criminals like Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski. Is that right?

Director Wray (03:08:34):


Representative Lee (03:08:35):

Okay. And of course there are many such individuals who have plans to do harm to our homeland that America never hears about because you successfully intercept and prevent before those incidents occur.

Director Wray (03:08:45):

Yes. In fact, one of the things that I think people would be surprised to know because terrorism is not as much in the news as it was during the era when I was serving in the Bush administration in the 9/11 era, but we have, just since I’ve been director, disrupted attacks against a July 4th parade in Ohio, any number of attacks against churches and other houses of worship, an attack, an attempted attack, a plot to attack a hospital during COVID, the pier in San Francisco in sort of a peak tourism moment, a crowded beach during Memorial holiday. And these are not all domestic terrorism, some of them are, and that’s important for people to know. Some of these are jihadist-inspired terrorist attacks too, and that has not gone away, even though a lot of the public discussion has been about domestic terrorism.

Representative Lee (03:09:39):

And so here’s what I’m hoping you can help us reconcile today. So we know that there are a limited number of agents, a limited number of resources and a vast responsibility to prevent a broad array of very serious offenses. And what I’d like to do with that in mind is turn your attention to the decision within the Bureau to use investigative resources to investigate and surveil parents who attended school board meetings for the purpose of sharing their concerns about the nature of their children’s education and the efficacy of the policies that were being implemented by school boards around the country.


Is it correct that in 2021 the FBI created a threat tag specifically designed to identify parents attending school board meetings?

Director Wray (03:10:32):

Yes, but I think it’s important for people to understand what a threat tag is and is not. It is not what we base investigations on. It’s not an investigative tool. It’s an administrative function in our system and it doesn’t change anything, anything about how we investigate, tools we use, any of our longstanding standards for predication.

Representative Lee (03:10:53):

But in those circumstances-

Director Wray (03:10:54):

And you mentioned the resource allocation question.

Representative Lee (03:10:57):

It is correct, is it not, however that agents surveiled, that agents did in fact surveil and investigate certain parents who were attending school board meetings?

Director Wray (03:11:08):

No, ma’am. That’s actually not correct. We opened 25 assessments into reports that were tagged, but none of those involved incidents at school board meetings. And to my knowledge, the FBI has not opened investigations on any parent for exercising speech at school board meetings.

Representative Lee (03:11:26):

Would you be concerned that to do so would be an infringement or perhaps a chilling on the first amendment rights of parents to participate freely and openly in those meetings? Do you believe that would be inappropriate function of the Bureau?

Director Wray (03:11:42):

I believe that our mission is to protect the American people and uphold the constitution. And the uphold the constitution part is very important to me and to our people.


And I will say to you the same thing I said to all 56 of our field offices as soon as I read that memo, which is the FBI is not and has never been in the business of policing or investigating speech by parents at school board meetings and we’re not about to start now. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, and that includes, when there’s violence, threats of violence, we’re going to work with our state and local partners, as we always have on that, and following our normal procedures and our normal investigative steps and our normal standards for predication.

Representative Lee (03:12:26):

Thank you, Director Wray. Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (03:12:28):

Gentlelady yields back. The gentleman from Colorado is recognized.

Representative Neguse (03:12:32):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you for being here. Thank you for your testimony, and thank you for your service to our country under some pretty typical circumstances. And we’re certainly grateful. I’m certainly grateful, the people of the state that I represent, Colorado, are grateful to the 38,000 members of the FBI team, as you have articulated, that are working every day to keep the American people safe and to keep the people of my state and my community safe. So we’re grateful for you being here.


This committee obviously has a legitimate role in terms of conducting oversight. Generally that oversight has extended to the policy areas, the areas of law enforcement that of course you are responsible for. Unfortunately, much of the conversation today, and it’s disappointing I think for those Americans who have been watching, has not been focused on those legitimate areas of inquiry, but instead conspiracy theories and the like. Obviously, as you have been given an opportunity to respond to some of the attacks that have been made against the law enforcement agency that you direct and the dangerous calls, or at least in my view, the dangerous calls that have been made by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle in terms of defunding federal law enforcement, which is deeply dangerous and you’ve articulated the many reasons why.


I’d like to focus in on two areas that are important to my constituents in Colorado and that I believe are relevant to the work that you do, and that is the fentanyl epidemic and gun violence prevention.


With respect to the latter, you may recall you testified in front of the committee previously, I had an opportunity to ask you about an incident that occurred back in 2020 in my state in Colorado. In 2021, the GAO issued a report in response to this particular incident.


Just by way of background: A gun dealer in Colorado transferred a firearm to an 18-year-old resident of Florida without first verifying the purchaser’s age eligibility in her state of residence. The gun buyer then threatened to commit a school shooting akin to the mass tragedy that occurred at Columbine High, causing the lockdown en closure of multiple schools in my district back in Colorado. The report recommended, the GAO report, that the FBI strengthen its system for the sale of firearms to out-of-state purchasers. Specifically, it recommended that the FBI update the NIC system to verify the age requirements of an out-of-state firearm purchaser, in both the purchaser’s state of residence and the state of sale, to ensure basic age eligibility. And we’ve introduced legislation that I believe the Department of Justice is aware of to make that requirement statutory.


Wonder if you could expound a bit on whether the, I’m sure you’re aware of the report, whether the FBI has implemented the recommendation that the GAO has made, and if not, the FBI’s plans to do so.

Director Wray (03:15:12):

Well, I think the specific legislation that would require that is something, as you said, that I think the department is studying. And so I can’t weigh in on a specific legislative proposal.


When it comes to the specific issue of 18 to 20-year-olds in particular and gun purchases, that is of course the subject of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act that was passed, and there are a number of significant checks that now occur.


We started implementing that last October, fully implemented it starting in January. And that provides for enhanced checks for that critical population, the 18 to 20-year-old range, juvenile criminal records, mental health records for that population and contact, in some ways, most importantly contact with local law enforcement in that person’s community.


And I’ve actually been out to NICS, met with and sat with the operators who process those checks. So I’ve seen kind of firsthand how it works and the important work it represents. And I think if you were to talk, I’m talking to chiefs and sheriffs all over this country every week, and you will hear most of them, if you talk to them for very long, you will hear about their concern and our concern about juveniles and violence, almost guarantee you within the first 10 minutes of any conversation, it’s a real problem in this country.

Representative Neguse (03:16:45):

Well, I thank you for your answer, and I think it underscores the importance of the NICS program and would look forward to perhaps following up with your team on this particular administrative issue of trying to just make sure that the database is working efficiently.


Limited time left, but I just want to give you an opportunity. I know we’ve talked a bit about the fentanyl epidemic devastating communities across the country, certainly in Colorado. It’s one of the reasons why we created a fentanyl prevention caucus here in the Congress. It’s bipartisan. Representative Issa is one of our co-chairs.


Wonder if you just might be able to, for those Americans who are watching, provide us with your sense of some of the trends, the most dangerous and disturbing trends, that you think the American people and policymakers should be aware of.

Director Wray (03:17:26):

Well, I’ll say there are a whole bunch of trends but in the limited time, but because of the importance of this topic, I’ll hit a couple.


One is, and we were just discussing this recently internally, we are finding, over the course of the last year, that maybe even a little less than a year, that almost every gang takedown we have now, and we’re doing them all over the country all the time, almost every single one now seems to involve as well a seizure of fentanyl. And we’ve been doing gang takedowns since Congresswoman Lee was a prosecutor as well. And so that’s not new. But what is new is that over and over and over again it seems consistently we’re finding fentanyl in these, again, these are violent crime takedowns.


The second phenomenon which is deeply disturbing, and I know the DEA administrators very concerned about as well, is that we’re seeing more and more adulteration or lacing of fentanyl into all sorts of different kinds of prescription drugs that lots of Americans take all the time. And if you think about the phenomenon of the youth of this country, which is itself a problem of getting prescription drugs from their friends or their friend’s parents or whatever it happens to be, they may not know that there’s potentially a lethal dose of fentanyl in some prescription drug that they’re taking. So it just underscores the importance of only getting your prescriptions from an appropriate medical provider.

Mr. Jordan (03:18:56):

Gentlemen’s time has expired. The gentleman from Wisconsin is recognized.

Representative Tiffany (03:18:59):

Is the southern border secure?

Director Wray (03:19:02):

I think the southern border represents a massive security threat.

Representative Tiffany (03:19:08):

So what we’ve heard from you today is that fentanyl’s become a really big problem and that you’re having to put more resources to it. Is that correct?

Director Wray (03:19:17):

Towards fentanyl? Yes. Yes we are.

Representative Tiffany (03:19:20):

And the related gang. You just retailed some of the story.

Director Wray (03:19:23):


Representative Tiffany (03:19:23):

So this all happened over the last couple years as the border has become unsecure. Is the southern border secure?

Director Wray (03:19:30):

Well, again, I want to defer to the homeland security which is responsible for the physical security of the building. I will just tell you from the FBI’s perspective that we are seeing all sorts of very serious, very serious criminal threats that come from across the border-

Representative Tiffany (03:19:45):

And getting worse, correct? You’re putting more assets towards it.

Director Wray (03:19:49):

We certainly do. We have, as I said-

Representative Tiffany (03:19:51):

So it’s becoming more of a priority for you.

Director Wray (03:19:53):

It is becoming more and more of a priority for us, yes.

Representative Tiffany (03:19:56):

So, in the Durham Report, and we heard from Mr. Durham just a couple weeks ago, he said the FBI failed to uphold the important mission of strict fidelity to the law, and that predates you. Do you agree with that statement that Mr. Durham made?

Director Wray (03:20:09):

Yes, I do.

Representative Tiffany (03:20:11):

Was Russia collusion a hoax? So, in light of the Durham report and that, was Russia collusion a hoax?

Director Wray (03:20:21):

What I would say is this: One as to the Durham Report itself and one as to the issue of Russia maligned influence. As to the Durham Report itself-

Representative Tiffany (03:20:33):

Be quick.

Director Wray (03:20:34):

I’ll try. The conduct it describes is conduct that I consider unacceptable and unrepresented of who I see the FBI as every day and must not ever be allowed to happen again.

Representative Tiffany (03:20:45):

And on the other side?

Director Wray (03:20:46):

Second, on the other one, it is not seriously disputed that the Russians, among other foreign adversaries, have attempted to interfere in our elections. And there’ve been any number of findings to that. In fact, President Trump himself rightly declared a national emergency about foreign interference in our elections in 2018.

Representative Tiffany (03:21:05):

As a result of the actions of James Comey, the disgraced James Comey and the FBI, they’ve interfered with the elections in both 2016 and 2020. Will that interference happen again in 2024 by the FBI?

Director Wray (03:21:21):

The FBI is not going to be interfering in elections.

Representative Tiffany (03:21:24):

They did in 2016.

Director Wray (03:21:26):

Well, I don’t know that that’s what Mr. Durham found. What I would tell you again, is that it was conduct that I consider unacceptable and unrepresentative.

Representative Tiffany (03:21:34):

You can be in denial if you want to.

Director Wray (03:21:36):

I’m not in denial, sir.

Representative Tiffany (03:21:36):

Mr. Director, you can be in denial on this. That’s exactly what happened.


Last year, the FBI gave a defensive briefing to my home state Senator Johnson, and you can see the slide up there now. And then that defensive briefing was leaked to the Washington Post. Who ordered that briefing?

Director Wray (03:21:54):

So defensive briefings, when it comes to election matters, including in the last administration, under a procedure set up by the last administration, are an interagency process coordinated by the Office of Director of National Intelligence. And the way that works is the interagency concludes that a defensive briefing is appropriate and the FBI is given information from whatever intelligence community agency supplies it and then we provide it. Defensive briefings, it’s important to understand-

Representative Tiffany (03:22:22):

Senator Johnson, that’s his quote. He’s up there with you and Hunter Biden. “I knew it was a set-up.” And he asked you this question back in November of last year and he said, “I knew it was a set-up.” And that goes back to the point about interfering in elections.


Senator Johnson was one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents, if not the most vulnerable Republican incumbent, that was a target of the Democrats in the 2022 election. And then you see this briefing happen and he knew what was happening, that there was someone or some people within the FBI in the intelligence arena that were going after him.


Did Joe Biden take payments from Burisma or any other foreign companies as vice president, president or private citizen Biden?

Director Wray (03:23:14):

As you may know, there is an ongoing investigation being led by the US attorney in Delaware, Mr. Weiss, appointed by President Trump in the last administration, that our Baltimore field office is working with, and I would refer you to him as to what, if anything, can be shared.

Representative Tiffany (03:23:31):

So the president, he is under investigation?

Director Wray (03:23:36):

I’m not going to confirm or speak to who is or isn’t under investigation for what, I’m simply going to tell you-

Representative Tiffany (03:23:42):

So he’s not under investigation?

Director Wray (03:23:43):

I didn’t say that either. By longstanding department policy and practice, I’m not going to be confirming or denying who is or isn’t under investigation or for what.

Representative Tiffany (03:23:54):

Thank you. I’ll close with this.


Russia collusion started it, Mr. Chairman. And the targeting and the suppression and the censorship has continued until this point. We need to thoroughly review what the FBI is doing and, at a minimum, I will be allowing FISA to sunset if we’re not going to see significant reforms in the agency.


I yield back.

Director Wray (03:24:15):

Gentleman yields back. The gentlelady from North Carolina is recognized.

Representative Ross (03:24:19):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you Director Wray for your service and your patience.


In 2018, 10 leaders of Temple Beth Or, a synagogue in my district, received threats mailed to their homes. These threats led to the cancellation of programming and continued a disturbing trend of rising antisemitism in North Carolina.


In the years since, my state has confronted new threats from domestic terrorists at minority institutions. This past April, a man was arrested on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University, the largest HBCU in the country, with multiple firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, as well as a makeshift, explosive brass knuckles, crossbow, knives, and other weapons. Thankfully, this man was arrested before he could cause any harm, but the threat he posed to the campus mirrors threats we’ve seen to HBCUs around the country.


In North Carolina and across the United States, we’ve also seen increased threats against reproductive care providers in the wake of the Dobbs decision last summer. And North Carolina recently enacted a 12-week abortion ban that has severely restricted access to reproductive healthcare in my state. And people often have to go through threatening crowds to be able to access the care that they need.


While some in North Carolina have highlighted vandalism of crisis pregnancy centers since the overturn of Roe, they failed to acknowledge or respond to the increase in violence at abortion providers.


Does the FBI currently provide anti-terrorism training to civilians, to HBCUs, places of worship, religious centers, individuals providing abortion services, LGBTQ groups? And does that training include a domestic terrorism component so that they can help you and law enforcement?

Director Wray (03:26:39):

Well, we do a whole bunch of things to engage with the community, institutions that are targeted with violence that include a number of the kinds of institutions you mentioned.


I know in particular, we work very, very closely with the Jewish community, which has the unfortunate distinction of, despite the percentage that they represent of the American population, of being way disproportionately targeted. So we spent a lot of time engaging with them around the country and nationally.


We also spent a lot of time engaging with campus law enforcement, including at HBCUs. We spent a lot of time on that, especially last year with the bomb threats that were coming in. I was just recently with all of the campus law enforcement leaders from around the country just the last couple of weeks. And we certainly try to provide awareness to different kinds of institutions about how to deal with potential mass casualty events and things like that. We also provide information about things to be on the lookout for in people’s communities.


I should say, though, when you mention on the abortion side, reproductive facilities, of course I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out that there has been a pretty significant uptick in violence going the other way since the Dobb decision. And in fact, most of the investigations that we’ve opened since the Dobb decision, probably about 70% of them have been violence against pro-life facilities. We recently had a significant charge in the Madison, Wisconsin area of a guy who was trying to firebomb a pro-life facility there. So we’re out there with communities across the spectrum.

Representative Ross (03:28:33):

Okay. And how would an investigation differ if it’s domestic terrorism as opposed to just an ordinary criminal case?

Director Wray (03:28:46):

Well, our investigation focuses on the violence, first and foremost. I think there is no domestic terrorism statute. There’s no offense of domestic terrorism. But we define domestic terrorism for purposes of opening an investigation as having three things: violence or threat of violence in furtherance of an ideology. In other words, that’s driving the violence in that particular instance, and in violation of federal criminal law.


If we have those three things, enough evidence to indicate that that might be what’s going on, then we would treat that as a domestic terrorism investigation.

Representative Ross (03:29:24):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (03:29:26):

Gentlelady yields back. We got votes, Director. We’re going to do one more on our side, then we’ll take a break and come back for the remaining members. The gentlelady from Wyoming’s recognized.

Representative Hageman (03:29:37):

Yes, Director Wray, we have established that the FBI and other federal agencies met weekly with executives from major social media companies including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, Microsoft, LinkedIn, and Yahoo and Verizon. Were you involved in any of those meetings, yes or no?

Director Wray (03:29:56):

I wasn’t involved in the kind of meetings that you’re talking about or I didn’t

Director Wray (03:30:00):

And participate, I guess, in meetings like that.

Speaker 6 (03:30:02):

Okay. Are these meetings still occurring, and if so, how frequently?

Director Wray (03:30:07):

Well, right now, as you may know, there is a preliminary injunction that’s been entered-

Speaker 6 (03:30:12):

Prior to the preliminary injunction, were these weekly meetings taking place?

Director Wray (03:30:16):

I don’t know if weekly meetings occurred, again, before the injunction, but certainly we’ve been very open about this, engaged with social media companies.

Speaker 6 (03:30:23):

Does the FBI intend to continue to have such meetings leading up to the 2024 election to police election related speech?

Director Wray (03:30:32):

Well, we’re not going to be policing election related speech.

Speaker 6 (03:30:35):

That’s what you previously did.

Director Wray (03:30:37):

I did not agree with that description [inaudible 03:30:39].

Speaker 6 (03:30:39):

Okay. Well, here’s what I would say. This committee has learned that the FBI acted to quote, “Discredit leaked information about Hunter Biden before and after it was published,” that, quote, “Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary,” and that, quote, “A surprisingly high number are requests by the FBI for Twitter to take action on election misinformation, even involving joke tweets from low follower accounts.” Are you aware that that has been reported?

Director Wray (03:31:12):

I am aware of some of what the committee has found in its report, but I will add that I’m not sure I agree with the findings in your report.

Speaker 6 (03:31:19):

But that’s what we found. Director Wray, you and I both know that the federal government is forbidden from doing indirectly what it cannot do directly. In other words, neither you nor the FBI have any legal authority to circumvent the First Amendment by using a surrogate to do your dirty work. Yet that is exactly what you have been doing. The bureau under your watch has been using proxies to violate the First Amendment. Were you the person who gave the orders to use these social media companies to violate Americans First Amendment rights?

Director Wray (03:31:54):

Again, I don’t agree with your description of our engagement with social media companies.

Speaker 6 (03:31:59):

So who made the decision to use social media companies as a proxy to suppress the First Amendment rights of American citizens?

Director Wray (03:32:08):

Because I don’t believe that’s what we did. I’m not sure there’s anyone that would’ve made such a decision.

Speaker 6 (03:32:11):

Do you really expect the American public to believe that you were not involved in the decisions related to using social media companies to suppress the First Amendment rights of American citizens?

Director Wray (03:32:22):

I can’t help what people will believe or not. I can only speak to what the facts are.

Speaker 6 (03:32:27):

Was anyone ever fired or otherwise reprimanded for pursuing mass censorship? In other words, has anybody been held accountable for taking the actions that were described in the decision by the District Court out of Louisiana?

Director Wray (03:32:42):

Well, the District Court’s decision just came out on July 4th, as I recall.

Speaker 6 (03:32:45):

Has anybody been reprimanded or held accountable for those?

Director Wray (03:32:48):

And at the moment, we have issued guidance to everyone in the organization who could be affected as to how to follow that.

Speaker 6 (03:32:53):

Has anyone been reprimanded?

Director Wray (03:32:54):

I’m not going to speak to personnel matters because we have not made any such determination at this stage.

Speaker 6 (03:33:01):

Mr. Wray, I have some letters from Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul that were sent to you on April 20th and June 20th requesting a meeting to discuss the weapons of mass destruction directorates work, investigating the origins of SARS Covid-19. Your office has never responded to these letters. Do you intend to respond to Senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul to find out more information about the origin of Covid-19?

Director Wray (03:33:30):

Well, we try hard to respond to all correspondences we get from the Hill. We get a lot. I’ll have to check-

Speaker 6 (03:33:35):

So I assume you’ll be responding to this.

Director Wray (03:33:37):

So my intention is that we would have an appropriate response. Sometimes our responses, by longstanding procedure, our responses have to go through the department before they go out. So it could be that it’s held up there, but I don’t know if that’s the case in these particular ones.

Speaker 6 (03:33:51):

So Senators Graham and Paul should be receiving a response from your office pretty soon?

Director Wray (03:33:54):

Some kind of response. As you may know, we were the only agency in the intelligence community until more recently when the Department of Energy did as well, to reach the assessment that in our folks view, we thought-

Speaker 6 (03:34:09):

I understand Mr. Wray.

Director Wray (03:34:09):

… it’s more likely to be a lab leak.

Speaker 6 (03:34:10):

Okay. Mr. Wray, from the Twitter files, Missouri versus Biden Disclosures, the Durham Investigation and Report, and exposure and collapse of the Russian Collusion hoax, the American people fully understand that there is a two-tier justice system that has been weaponized to persecute people based on their political beliefs and that you have personally worked to weaponize the FBI against conservatives. I asked Mr. Durham about this, to which he answered, “I don’t think that things can go too much further with the view that law enforcement, particularly the FBI or Department of Justice, runs a two-tiered system of justice. The nation can’t stand under those circumstances.” Director Wray, what are you prepared to do to reform federal law enforcement in a manner which earns back the trust of the American people?

Director Wray (03:34:55):

Well, first off, I would disagree with your characterization of the FBI and certainly your description of my own approach. The idea that I’m biased against conservatives seems somewhat insane to me, given my own personal background. As to how we are approaching our work of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution, it starts with me having emphasized to all of our folks over and over and over again in everything we do, that we need to do the right thing in the right way. And that means following the facts wherever they lead, no matter who likes it. Then goes on from there to all kinds of enhanced procedures, safeguards, approvals, double checks, triple checks, record keeping requirement, accountability policies, funding of new functions like an Office of Internal Audit that didn’t exist before. The installation of an entirely new leadership team from my predecessor, and where I can take action, where we can take action to hold people accountable by removing people from the chain of command.

Speaker 7 (03:35:59):

Gentleman and ladies, Director, we’re going to take a 30- minute break for votes. We will be back. I’m going to try to start right at 2:15.

Speaker 6 (03:36:08):

Unanimous consent to introduce [inaudible 03:36:10]-

Speaker 7 (03:36:10):

Without objections.

Speaker 6 (03:36:10):

… into the record.

Speaker 7 (03:36:11):

Without objection, so it’ll be entered. We’ll start with Ms. Bush and then Mr. Bishop on our side when we return. We’ll stand in recess for approximately 30 minutes.

Mr. Jordan (04:17:06):

Committee will come to order. The gentlelady from Missouri is recognized.

Ms. McBath (04:17:08):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for being here, Director Wray. Before I get into the primary topic of my remarks, I want to ask you about a separate issue. On June 16th, my esteemed colleague, Ranking Member Raskin of the oversight committee, sent you a letter asking the FBI to publicly reiterate certain non-classified information that it provided in an oral briefing about Form FD-1023 subpoenaed by Oversight Chairman Comer. It has now been almost a month since Mr. Raskin sent his letter. When can he expect a response?

Director Wray (04:17:44):

I’ll have to check with my staff because we’ve gotten so many letters from so many members and each one of them is important to me, but as I sit here right now, I don’t know when the timing is, but we’ll get back to you on that.

Ms. McBath (04:17:56):


Director Wray (04:17:56):

And more importantly, we’ll get back to you. We’ll get on that.

Ms. McBath (04:17:58):

Okay, okay. All right. Thank you. And we will follow up. Okay. Especially because I did ask directly of your staff, so we’ll follow up. And now, St. Louis and I are here today in continuing solidarity with the protestors, the advocates, and movements that are actually targeted by surveillance and other law enforcement abuses in this country. Director Wray, I know that you are aware of the FBI’s long and sorted history of targeting Black protestors and activists. At a hearing before this committee, in December of 2017, you characterized the abuses related to COINTELPRO as “one of the darker moments in the FBI’s history. It’s something we’re not proud of, but it is also something we’ve learned from.” But Director Wray, isn’t it true that an FBI agent improperly ran a batch query of unminimized FISA information using the identifiers of 133 individuals arrested in connection with the protest after the murder of George Floyd in 2020? Just a yes or no is fine.

Director Wray (04:19:07):

Well, I’m aware of the instance you’re talking about. Whether that correctly describes it or not, I’m not a hundred percent sure. I know it’s in the most recent FISC opinion, but what I will tell you is that that incident is noncompliance. I consider it unacceptable. And most importantly, most importantly, it predates all of these fixes and corrective measures and reforms that we’ve put in place, which I think would’ve prevented it from happening now.

Ms. McBath (04:19:35):

Thank you. And now onto ZeroFox. Isn’t it true a firm hired on a $14 million contract by the FBI, which we’ve heard already today, to monitor social media threats previously labeled Black Lives Matter activists as threat actors requiring constant surveillance? Yes or no?

Director Wray (04:19:59):

I’m not sure that’s a correct description of the way we do work with ZeroFox, but I don’t know that that’s a correct description of how we do it.

Ms. McBath (04:20:07):

Well, so did the FBI hire the firm?

Director Wray (04:20:12):

My understanding of ZeroFox is it has a tool which allows us to, in certain instances, engage in social media searches to prevent threats. But the specifics of-

Ms. McBath (04:20:26):

So they were hired?

Director Wray (04:20:29):

Well, I don’t know, again, the terms of our arrangement, whether it’s a retention or what, but I’ve heard the term ZeroFox before. And in my general experience is, it’s usually used in connection with preventing violence at a particular critical incident of some sort.

Ms. McBath (04:20:50):

So to the tune of $14 million though, there is reporting that threat actors was actually what they labeled Black Lives Matter activists, two of whom I know very well. And I served more than 400 days on the ground during the Ferguson uprising myself. More than 400 days, many of those days with those two people that were named and who are not violent. Isn’t it true that the FBI has been actively involved in the law enforcement response to people protesting the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, a response that has included state charges of domestic terrorism against protestors? Yes or no?

Director Wray (04:21:32):

Well, the [inaudible 04:21:33] Atlanta division is working in support of our state and local partners when it comes to violence and threats of violence that occur amid the unrest that you’re referring to.

Ms. McBath (04:21:48):

So the FBI is involved. These are not isolated incidents and as I said, they’re part of a long history of abuses by the FBI against Black and Brown communities and progressive movements. These are real, the real oversight issues. They matter to my district where there is real and justify skepticism of whether the civil rights of Black and Brown people are adequately protected. I know this from personal experience in the Ferguson uprising and from other protest movements that I have been a part of. That’s why I asked you about the targeting of protestors the last time that you were before us because they also included me.


But what my district is not concerned about is the Republican conspiracy theories and selective targeting of law enforcement agencies who try to hold their twice impeached, twice indicted cult leader Donald Trump accountable. The Insurrection Caucus wants to use this hearing to score immediate political points. They want to invade oversight. They don’t want to conduct it. But we’re talking about real issues, real reform that could actually save lives. So once again, I urged my Republican colleagues who claim to care about government overreach and weaponization to do the exact same. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (04:22:48):

Gentlelady yields back. I would just remind the lady that what we’d actually like to do is work with you to protect Americans’ privacy, whether they’ve been targeted on the rights or on the left.

Mr. Ivey (04:22:54):

Mr. Chairman, point of order, point of order, point of order.

Mr. Jordan (04:22:58):

Gentleman, may I stay this point of order?

Mr. Ivey (04:23:00):

It’s not your time.

Mr. Jordan (04:23:02):

I appreciate the point of order and I was just getting ready to yield to the gentleman from North Carolina who will have five minutes.

Mr. Ivey (04:23:07):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I greatly appreciate it.

Mr. Jordan (04:23:10):

I appreciate the reminder.

Mr. Bishop (04:23:11):

I want to follow up, Director Wray, about the foreign influence task force. So there’ve been exchanges with Mr. Johnson, Louisiana, Ms. Hageman over that. And I understand the difference. I want to respect the differences in characterization. Earlier this week in denying a stay of its order, the federal court essentially said this isn’t complicated. Follow the law as articulated by the United States Supreme Court in the area of the First Amendment. And that was it, as far as it was concerned. The Foreign Influence Task Force is not a predecessor’s decision. You set that up, right?

Director Wray (04:23:51):


Mr. Bishop (04:23:51):

Okay. And you’ve known about the continuous interaction with social media companies. I’m sure you know about the testimony of Agent Elvis Chan, correct?

Director Wray (04:24:03):

I mean, I don’t know everything he’s testified to, but I’m aware that he was-

Mr. Bishop (04:24:06):

Did you read his testimony?

Director Wray (04:24:08):

I’ve read parts of it, yes.

Mr. Bishop (04:24:11):

There were thousands of posts that were flagged to the social media companies. These meetings with social media continued across time on a periodic basis. And this court is found, and I understand where the point of disagreement is, I guess, at this stage is, but I believe it’s fairly common sense that if you’ve got a constant expectant suggestions from the FBI to social media companies with respect to social media posts, at some point in time it becomes a government decision or it becomes coercive in nature. That’s what the courts preliminarily found. That apparently is the line you decided to walk in setting this up. Today it’s striking that you come in and you sort of casually acknowledge that among other things that we did pass through, I think you said, information from the Ukrainian SBU to social media as if it’s normal for the FBI to serve effectively as the agent of foreign power, to help pull information out of circulation to which Americans otherwise would have access because the foreign intel service doesn’t like it.


Now those are my characterizations. I have tried to be a little bit more neutral in my language and you can differ with them. But here’s what I’m wondering. Why would you walk that fine line with respect to American’s fundamental constitutional rights at scale, especially with knowledge of past abuses by the FBI, like COINTELPRO? You said earlier that the FBI wasn’t even concerned about disinformation per se, but the foreign origins of the information. Assuming so, how does that comport with Lamont versus Postmaster General?

Director Wray (04:25:45):

Well, I’m not going to try to engage on Supreme Court jurisprudence, but what I can tell you is that the-

Mr. Bishop (04:25:52):

Well, I mean that’s the point though, Director, right? And let me just ask you, do you know about that case? Do you know that case?

Director Wray (04:25:58):

I’ve heard of the case.

Mr. Bishop (04:25:59):

All right. Right in the heart of the Cold War, at the behest of an American plaintiff, a communist by the way, Supreme Court said that Americans have a First Amendment right of access to information, even if it is propaganda originating abroad. And in that case, the United States Postal Service could not interdict it. Do you know that in essence?

Director Wray (04:26:22):

Again, I’m not familiar with the holding of the case. I’d have to review it to be sure that that’s correct.

Mr. Bishop (04:26:27):

That seems to be the trouble. I keep wondering, as I read all these revelations, how that could be? Or then let me go to this: You know that the FBI engaged with the social media companies continuously warning them of hack-and-leak operations in 2020. Not 2018 by the way, but before the 2020 election, lots of warnings about hack and leak. You’re aware of that?

Director Wray (04:26:47):

I’m aware that we gave them lots of information about intelligence that we were receiving from some of our intelligence community partners.

Mr. Bishop (04:26:52):

At the time you were giving them those warnings, the FBI had had the Hunter Biden laptop for more than nine months. But of course, COINTELPRO itself was the mother of all hack-and-leak operations. Leftist activists at the time broke into the FBI’s office in Media, Pennsylvania, stole the files, gave them the media, and newspapers published them. And you’re bound to be aware of New York Times Company versus United States, the Pentagon Papers case.

Director Wray (04:27:22):


Mr. Bishop (04:27:23):

That says that even if information had been stolen or inappropriately taken, that you can’t get a prior restraint in almost any circumstance to prevent there being distributed. So how is it that your Foreign Influence Task Force is out warning of hack-and-leak operations to innocent, not involved in the hack, that would be criminal, but social media organizations where information may be circulated?

Director Wray (04:27:47):

Well, first off, we’re not engaging in any prior restraint. Second, second-

Mr. Bishop (04:27:53):


Director Wray (04:27:53):

Second… Well, if I could finish please. Second, there is no serious dispute that foreign adversaries have and continue to attempt to interfere in our elections and that they use social media to do it. President Trump himself in 2018 declared a national emergency to that very effect. And the Senate Intelligence Committee in a bipartisan, overwhelmingly bipartisan way, by the way, not only found the same thing but called for more-

Mr. Bishop (04:28:22):

I hate to say this, Director-

Director Wray (04:28:24):

… information sharing between us and the social media.

Mr. Bishop (04:28:25):

I hear you, but it doesn’t justify trampling the established First Amendment rights of Americans as the Supreme Court has declared them, whether or not frankly I agree with them or you agree with them. That’s what I don’t get. You come here and the comments are sort of blasé answers. Accountability is always down the road. We never arrive. I guess I’m joining the gang up, but what I’m concerned about and I think Americans are concerned about is they just never see it. I don’t know of an answer other than to take an appropriation from you that’s very significant or to do something to take your intel powers away and put them in another agency. I honestly want to know.

Mr. Ivey (04:29:00):

Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Bishop (04:29:01):

And I think Americans want to know. I yield.

Mr. Jordan (04:29:04):

I sure do. The gentleman from Maryland who keeps us on time is recognized.

Mr. Ivey (04:29:11):

Until it’s my turn, then I’m going to run over to you.

Mr. Bishop (04:29:13):

Wait till it came into this five minutes. Yeah.

Mr. Jordan (04:29:17):

Gentleman’s time is about ready to start.

Mr. Ivey (04:29:19):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director, I appreciate you coming in today. I saw a characterization of this hearing as a GOP-FBI grudge match. But I must say that the only grudge that’s been seen here is from the Republican side. I think you’ve done an outstanding job with your testimony today, even when you’ve been admitting that there are shortcomings by your office, that mistakes have been made. I appreciate the fact that you are willing to do that because it’s not easy for agency heads to do that. And also more importantly, to point out the changes that you’ve made to try and address those concerns.


I want to say this too, there’s a couple points that have been made here about, you were just talking about the Foreign Influence Task Force. And I know there’s a lot of talk about this as being some kind of prior restraint or first amendment violation. But I want to say that I’m on the side that thinks this is a very important tool for the FBI and the United States government to have, especially with respect to potential intervention or interference, especially by Russian state actors with respect to American elections. There’s some people who think, and I’m kind of starting to agree, that one of the reasons some of my colleagues are pushing so hard against this and other aspects of information protection within the United States is because they want to have Russian interference in the 2024 election.

Mr. Jordan (04:30:44):

Oh, please.

Mr. Ivey (04:30:45):

I certainly don’t. So I certainly thank you for continuing your effort … blowers earlier in the hearing. I wanted to bring this up. I know you can’t speak to this, Mr. Director, but these are two checks that were written to some of these witnesses, two of the witnesses that testified here, and they are for over $250,000. Now, they came after they gave their testimony, I think, by a few days. But from my perspective, this is something that the American public should know when they evaluate the testimony of these individuals. And hopefully, I don’t know if the majority knew about this but didn’t disclose it at the time or what was going on with it, but in my book, this really brings the credibility of these witnesses’ testimony into question. And I think we should keep this in mind when we evaluate the allegations that they’ve made.


I also want to say this too. My Republican colleagues have come a long ways from the law and order days of the Republican Party back when I was a kid. Now we’re at defund the FBI. I think one of them selling t-shirts to try and raise money using that slogan. Another colleague is talking about abolish the ATF. Another one wants to say defund the Department of Justice. But as you mentioned in your testimony earlier, the FBI’s doing a lot of great work protecting the country from terrorism, foreign intelligence threats, international cartels. There’s weapons of mass destruction that you mentioned in your testimony. I appreciate that. And also there’s been a great deal of talk about the domestic terror threats. For me, the planned attempt to kidnap the governor of Michigan and apparently killer was chilling to the extreme and I appreciate the fact that you all were able to intervene on that.


I want to say this quickly too. I’m running short on time, but the misinformation and weaponization claims that have been made by my Republican colleagues, I want to offer these two articles. One is called, by Aaron Blake of The Washington Post, “All the ways Trump, not his foes, sought to weaponize the government.” And then another one, this is Philip Bump, this is on the Missouri v. Biden case, which was quoted extensively at the beginning of the hearing, “A deeply ironic reinforcement of right-wing information.” The point of this article is that the Missouri v. Biden decision, which I know you can’t comment on it because it’s pending litigation, but I also think it’s being challenged by the Department of Justice, and rightly so because it’s riddled with factual inaccuracies and legal inaccuracies as well. One other article for the record, this is by Leah Litman and Laurence Tribe, “Restricting the government for speaking to tech will spread disinformation and harm democracy.” I’d like all of those admitted.


And then lastly, with respect to the Hunter Biden issue, there’s a letter from Abbe Lowell who represents Mr. Biden. This is to Representative Jason Smith, but I think also to Chairman Jordan as well. That raises the pushback on the allegations, that points out that the investigation began during the Republican Trump administration was supervised by two Republican attorneys general. It was carried over by a holdover Republican US attorney.


Last point, I want to make, I promise I won’t run over my time much. I happen to represent the district where we contained two of the sites where the FBI headquarters could be moved to. The chairman made a reference to maybe not wanting to fund the move, but I must say I think I had an office near your building. They’ve got nets around it to keep parts of the building from falling down and hurting pedestrians. The move is important and also would give you a chance to consolidate. Hopefully you’ll bring it to Prince George’s County. We’ll save $1 billion for the taxpayers. And with that, I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (04:34:51):

Gentleman yields back. Gentlelady from Indiana is recognized.

Ms. Spartz (04:34:55):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold the U.S. Constitution, correct?

Mr. Jordan (04:35:06):


Ms. Spartz (04:35:07):

Okay. So we had, a couple of years ago, it was a hearing and I actually looking on all of the concerns that I’ve seen was really warrantless surveillance and abuses of Section 702 of FISA. I compare your agency to KGB and spent two years in this committee reading a lot of reports, now doing a lot of hearings. I’m really shocked that your agency is involved not just unlawful surveillance of American citizens, intimidation of American citizens, censorship of American citizens, potential coverups of convenient political figures, and potential setups of inconvenient political figures. And a lot of my colleagues ask a lot of questions, but I think when we look at that, and unfortunately we haven’t been doing our job authorizing spending, which was not authorized by our committee already probably for over a decade, we’re going to have this serious conversation and including authorization of Section 702.


But I want to talk about follow up and some other issues that you mentioned about, that my colleagues I was talking about, and you mentioned that you focus on malign foreign actors. So in Durham Report, which describes 2020, he states, and this is a quote, “Still sub sources could have been compromised by the Russians. FBI never gave appropriate consideration to the possibility that this still reports was Russian disinformation.” No, that didn’t happen. You have some falsified court application. You have some very shady confidential human sources that you kept paying for them. Nothing was about it. Some of your head of counterintelligence division was accused of taking money from Russian oligarch just recently this year. So you said all those are bad.


Now we go to 2022, your agency is involved with SBU, Security Service of Ukraine, to actually provide information to big tech to censor, just use of American people. Nothing seems as happening. This is information. Actually a lot of this information was pro-Russian against Ukraine and purporting. Your agents just passed it along. It seems like nothing happened. And it’s interesting for me that when I raised some issue actually beginning of July and what’s happening in Ukraine, I don’t have any confidential human sources. Just using common sense and intelligence. If something is wrong happening in Ukraine, it seems like there is a lot of infiltration, I was attacked, “Oh my gosh, how can you question?” Well, strangely enough, after me raising this question in the middle of July, President Zelensky fired his SBU top guy, opens over 600 investigation as potential infiltration by Russians, and then fire a lot of other people for corruption. And anti-corruption prosecutor was suddenly installed. But what is really interesting for me, how could you have this processes? And are you doing actually any investigation to look? Because it seems to me, as I understand, you still have. Our agencies working with SBU was coming from KGB time and FSB time has a lot of potential to have this infiltration. Are you doing any investigations on these issues?

Director Wray (04:38:24):

Doing investigations on?

Ms. Spartz (04:38:25):

Yeah, to look at that. Why we are doing on that information we’re taking from SBU, which actually was infiltrated and given to some Americans to our big tech companies. Are you looking into that as an agency?

Director Wray (04:38:38):

I’m not sure there’s an investigation that is directly on point to what you’re saying. I mean, certainly the SBU is an agency that we-

Ms. Spartz (04:38:45):

So we’re not doing an investigation.

Director Wray (04:38:46):

… have worked with for a long time.

Ms. Spartz (04:38:47):

So did we change the processes now since we know you guys work with SBU? SBU was infiltrated by Russian and Big Tech was censoring American citizen with this is unvetted information that actually was provided by Russians. Do you change any processes? Or it’s still happening? You have still the same processes that happened? Is this still happening now?

Director Wray (04:39:07):

Well, the engagement that we had with SBU was during-

Ms. Spartz (04:39:11):

But I’m talking right now.

Director Wray (04:39:13):


Ms. Spartz (04:39:14):

Because recently some of your agents had actually a joint meeting and they were bragging how their top corporations with SBU. Did you change processes?

Director Wray (04:39:23):

I’m not sure what processes you’re talking about.

Ms. Spartz (04:39:25):

To vet information.

Director Wray (04:39:26):


Ms. Spartz (04:39:26):

What’s happening?

Director Wray (04:39:28):

Again, during the period and the beginning of the invasion-

Ms. Spartz (04:39:31):

No, I’m talking right now. Do you vet information that you get from agencies like SBU? I mean, I don’t don’t know if we’re trying to, are we being like stupid? I understand. Are we being infiltrated? But Russians so corrupt, I don’t understand why we’re not vetting information with such a real challenging agencies. So are you changing anything of that? I would like to have a briefing or something on this because if you’re not looking at that, I have a huge problem with that.

Director Wray (04:39:56):

I’m happy to try to see if we can arrange to get you a better briefing on the subject.

Ms. Spartz (04:39:59):

Because this is a

Victoria Spartz (04:40:00):

… serious national security issue. I yield back back.

Mr. Jordan (04:40:06):

Gentlelady yields back. The gentleman from South Carolina. [inaudible 04:40:12] I’m sorry. Young lady from Texas to be recognized.

Ms. Jackson Lee (04:40:14):

Thank you so very much, Mr. Chairman. The Lone Ranger on this side.

Mr. Jordan (04:40:19):

Thanks for sticking with us.

Ms. Jackson Lee (04:40:20):

We appreciate you for a moment, and my members. Let me just quickly indicate that I have a document that is a tweet that is wanting to submit into the record. Two of the Republican witnesses were gifted 255,000 in checks immediately after they testified before this committee. It seems to be quid pro quo, but the fact of the tweet that I’m submitting from Mr. Kyle Seraphin says, “The fact that Mr. Allen has not yet cashed the check is not that he did not receive the check.” So I submit in the record the tweet from Mr. Seraphin who indicated that two gentlemen, Garret and Marcus, receiving a check of-

Mr. Jordan (04:41:04):

Continue your attack on whistleblowers without objection. Those are-

Ms. Jackson Lee (04:41:07):

Just a clarification, Mr. Chairman. And then finally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism, dated October 2022, Appendix A. I mean, the document itself, Appendix A, Appendix B, and the categories of domestic violent extremism.

Mr. Jordan (04:41:26):

Without objection.

Ms. Jackson Lee (04:41:27):

Your kindness is appreciated. Thank you very much.

Mr. Jordan (04:41:30):

The gentleman from South Carolina is recognized.

Russell Fry (04:41:33):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A few weeks ago, Special Counsel Durham confirmed the FBI had bias against President Trump and took unprecedented steps to go after him during the 2016 presidential election. The Durham report showed, one, the FBI did not have an adequate basis to launch the investigation. Two, it didn’t verify or examine all of the evidence. And three, the FBI was politically charged against then-candidate Trump. This, of course, was before your time. But here we go again. In August of ’22, the FBI raided the personal residence of President Trump. This unprecedented raid was a shocking escalation in what we talk about with the weaponization of the federal government against political opponents. Our country is almost 250 years old. We’ve had 46 presidents. This is unprecedented. When we say it’s unprecedented, we mean it. This has never been seen before in our country’s history.


Just like we saw in the Durham report, the FBI did not follow traditional protocols and this investigation was chockfull of abnormalities, so I want to go into those a little bit. Director Wray, as you know, the committee recently conducted a transcribed interview with Steven D’Antuono, the former assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office. He has over 20 years of FBI experience and he expressed some strong concerns with your department’s handling of the case, the DOJ’s handling of the case. The first abnormality deals with the FBI office, that they conducted the raid themselves. Director Wray, generally speaking, which FBI office oversees Palm Beach, Florida?

Director Wray (04:43:08):

The Miami office has an office in Palm Beach. But to the question you’re asking, it’s not unusual for a field office that is investigating the case to send the case team down to be involved in conducting a search.

Russell Fry (04:43:22):

And President Trump’s residence is in Palm Beach, Florida, is that correct?

Director Wray (04:43:26):


Russell Fry (04:43:27):

Director Wray, did the Miami field office conduct the investigation and search at Mar-a-Lago?

Director Wray (04:43:33):

The Washington field office conducted the search, although I think there was some assistance by people from the Miami office.

Russell Fry (04:43:37):

But it was primarily run out of Washington and not the Miami field office.

Director Wray (04:43:40):

Which was the case team that had opened the investigation, based on a referral from the National Archives, which is in DC.

Russell Fry (04:43:47):

Did the FBI headquarters in Washington instruct the Washington field office to start that investigation and that raid at Mar-a-Lago?

Director Wray (04:43:56):

Well, the investigation was opened in the field by the Washington field office.

Russell Fry (04:44:01):

Right. So it was not Miami, it was Washington.

Director Wray (04:44:04):

And the Washington field office opened the investigation based on a referral from the National Archives, which is also in DC. So that makes sense.

Russell Fry (04:44:11):

Who made the decision to have the Washington field office execute that search warrant rather than the Miami field office?

Director Wray (04:44:17):

That, I can’t speak to the specific individual. As you know, this is an ongoing case and internal deliberations about-

Russell Fry (04:44:24):

I’m not asking about about the facts of the case, I’m asking about who made the call to go to Washington and use the Washington field office as opposed to Miami. Would that have been you?

Director Wray (04:44:36):

Well, no. The Washington field office opened the investigation because they’re the office where the National Archives is, which is what referred the investigation, kicked off the whole investigation.

Russell Fry (04:44:45):

Director, on May 15th, 2023, the FBI, your special counsel… Or excuse me, not your special counsel, your general counsel sent a letter to Special Counsel Durham in response to his report. In that letter, the FBI wrote, “FBI executive management has instructed investigations to be run out of the field and not from headquarters.” So despite the location of the search occurring in the territory of the FBI’s field office, the Washington field office instructed the raid. This is inconsistent with the FBI’s statement from two months ago. I want to move on to a second abnormality.

Director Wray (04:45:16):

I’m sorry, it’s actually not inconsistent.

Russell Fry (04:45:18):

I’ve got one minute left. [inaudible 04:45:20] one minute left, Director. Now, is it normal for a US attorney to be assigned to an investigation, a high profile investigation?

Director Wray (04:45:27):

Well, that’s a decision that’s made over at the Justice Department as to how they allocate-

Russell Fry (04:45:31):

But that’s normal protocol, is that correct?

Director Wray (04:45:33):

I mean, there are investigations, prosecutions and cases that are handled by Main Justice. There are trial attorneys there. But again, I only speak to the FBI’s decision making, not to the Justice Department.

Russell Fry (04:45:44):

And a US attorney was not initially assigned to this investigation, were they?

Director Wray (04:45:49):

I think that’s correct. But again, I would refer you to the Justice Department for any questions about US Attorneys versus Main Justice.

Russell Fry (04:45:55):

And the third abnormality that I find really troubling, probably the most troubling, quite frankly, is the FBI did not first seek consent to search the residence, did they?

Director Wray (04:46:06):

Well, there is a very detailed filing in court that goes through in fairly excruciating detail, the process that was followed that led up to the execution of the search. And it goes through in great detail the efforts that were made to secure documents. Because this case is now pending and moving forward in federal court, I want to respect that and not engage in more discussion, other than to refer you to the filing which lays out in great detail, I think, the answers to your questions.

Russell Fry (04:46:36):

Here’s the frustration that I see, Director. The Durham report laid out very clearly that in cases just in general that you cross every T and dot every I. That was not done here. You didn’t run it out of the field office. You didn’t have a US attorney assigned to the case. Senior officials did not listen to people on the ground, as the testimony of Mr. D’Antuono talked about. You didn’t ask for consent from their attorney. You didn’t ask for a consent search, despite the president having cooperated and handed over documents for a long period of time. And you refused to wait for President Trump’s own attorney to get to Mar-a-Lago to do this with you. And so what has changed since Durham? You’ve acknowledged this in 2023, that things should be run out of the field, that you’ve made internal process changes. But nothing has really changed since 2016, and that’s my big concern. I yield back.

Director Wray (04:47:20):

I could not disagree more, but we’ll just have to disagree on that one.

Mr. Jordan (04:47:23):

Well, here’s what he said. This is questions from the Democrat lawyer in the deposition of Mr. D’Antuono. “Can you explain to the attendees here why the case was not assigned to, for example, the Miami field office?” And Mr. D’Antuono’s answer was, “I have absolutely no idea.” And then they said the investigation was handled differently. And his answer was, “It was handled differently than I would’ve expected to be, than any other case is handled.” So I think that was the member’s point. And that’s the concern that we have, in spite of the letter we got from your general counsel. Chair now recognizes the gentleman from Texas for five minutes and then we’ll go to Wisconsin.

Wesley Hunt (04:47:59):

A recent poll found that 37% of Americans have a positive view of the FBI. And that’s from an NBC poll, I wouldn’t exactly call that right media propaganda. And I think I know why. Here’s what the American people know and believe about the FBI today, sir. If you are a Trump, you’ll be prosecuted. If you are a Biden, you’ll be protected. And the American people that I represent are sick and tired of this double standard. It seems like every single hearing that we have in this room, we talk about the two-tiered justice system of Biden’s DOJ and the FBI. And as we were talking earlier, here we are again. President Trump endured an unprecedented raid at his home in Mar-a-Lago. President Biden’s home, however, was respectfully browsed. President Trump is facing up to 400 years in federal prison for allegedly being in possession of classified documents he obtained as the commander in chief of these United States of America.


And meanwhile, President Biden is facing no charges for the classified documents he had held at his time as a senator and a vice president, not the president of these United States of America. And last I checked, he had no legal authority to declassify those documents. Assuming President Trump was in possession of said classified documents, would those documents be more secure surrounded by Secret Service at Mar-a-Lago or in a box in a garage behind your Corvette? You don’t have to answer that question. Question for you, sir. What can you tell us about the status of the FBI’s investigation of President Biden’s classified documents found next to his Corvette in Delaware and those found at the Penn Biden Center? Do we have an update on that, sir?

Director Wray (04:49:54):

What I can tell you is that there is an ongoing special counsel investigation led by Mr. Robert Hur, and we have FBI agents affiliated with it, working on it, working very actively and aggressively with him on that case. I obviously disagree with your description of the two standards. In my view, at least under my watch, we have one standard. And that is we’re going to pursue the facts wherever they lead, no matter who likes it. And I add that last part, because especially in sensitive investigations, almost by definition somebody’s not going to like it.

Wesley Hunt (04:50:26):

I understand that, and that’s actually why I led with the sentiment of the American people. I understand that’s their sentiment. I do want to finish this. So, I want everybody to talk about this dichotomy that we have seen. I get your point, sir, but that’s just not what we see as the public, as we the people. We see one case being fast-tracked and one case being slow-walked. We see one president’s home being raided, the other president’s home being kindly searched. You have one government agency, the Secret Service, protecting the former president and his home, and another government agency, the FBI, raiding the same home. Now, to me, sir, that’s tragically ironic, and we expect more from a functional, constitutional republic and these things shouldn’t be happening. Now, it’s my opinion, Joe Biden is the most unpopular president we have seen in a century. And that’s why he knows the only way to stop President Trump from beating him in November is by putting him in jail.


You talked about this, Mr. Fry. In the 247 years of this existence of this great nation, only one president has ever been indicted by the DOJ and his home raided by the FBI. Now, some have said that President Trump’s indictment means that no one is above the law. Okay, all right, I would love to see that. But what about Hillary Clinton? And what about Joe Biden? And what about Hunter Biden, who is America’s favorite son? Let me tell you something, I got a four-year-old daughter and a two-year-old daughter at my house. Hunter Biden to me is like glitter. He is on everything and you cannot get rid of him, and yet nothing is going to be done about this. We’re sick of it. James Comey decided not to prosecute Hillary Clinton despite overwhelming evidence that she committed crimes. And as I recall, it was the position of the FBI to not prosecute because they didn’t want to interfere with a presidential election.


What do you call this? The Iowa caucuses are in six months. Six months. I think the American public would expect to see this from Cuba and from Venezuela and from Russia and from China, but not here. The people expect us to have blind justice. They expect equal justice under the law. It is not the job of the DOJ or the FBI to prosecutes Joe Biden’s top political opponent, who is leading in every single primary poll and the Iowa caucuses are in six months. Let the people decide. It’s our job to uphold the Constitution. As a West Point grad and military veteran, this is the Constitution I’ve given my life to protect, and I expect us all to uphold it likewise. Thank you so much for being here.

Director Wray (04:53:13):

Mr. Chairman, may I briefly respond?

Mr. Jordan (04:53:15):


Director Wray (04:53:16):

So, number one, as to the investigations related to Mrs. Clinton, as you noted, that happened under my predecessor and I’m not going to speak for or defend that decision.

Wesley Hunt (04:53:27):

I recognize that.

Director Wray (04:53:28):

Second, as to your descriptions of the investigations related to Hunter Biden, as you know, there is an ongoing investigation being led by the Delaware US attorney appointed by President Trump. And we are actively working on that investigation with him. Third and-

Wesley Hunt (04:53:47):

We look forward to seeing the results of this quickly and swiftly.

Director Wray (04:53:49):

And third and finally, to your point about the American people and their views, I worry less about NBC polls or polls by any other news outlet, but I will tell you that the number of people in Texas applying to work for us since I’ve been in this job has gone up 93%. And in fact-

Wesley Hunt (04:54:11):

I’m not going to quote Matt Gaetz. I heard his response to this earlier, sir. That’s great.

Director Wray (04:54:17):

In fact, we have more applicants from the state of Texas annually in the last several years than any other state in the country.

Wesley Hunt (04:54:23):

And that makes sense because Texas is the greatest state in the country.

Director Wray (04:54:25):

Then I think that speaks very well of the view of Texans about the FBI.

Mr. Jordan (04:54:30):

Director, any agents who served on the Crossfire Hurricane investigation or the Mueller investigation, are any of those agents on Mr. Hur or Mr. Smith’s special counsel team?

Director Wray (04:54:44):

I don’t believe so, but I can’t on the top of my head go through the list of… There’s a lot of agents involved in the two investigations. And so let me check into that and see if there’s any way we can get back to you on that, because I don’t want to get out over my skis.

Mr. Jordan (04:54:58):

Thank you. Gentlemen from Wisconsin is recognized for five minutes.

Scott Fitzgerald (04:55:01):

Director Wray, thanks for being here today. On June 21st, the committee heard testimony from special counsel John Durham. Have you reviewed his findings and did you dispute any of those?

Director Wray (04:55:16):

I have reviewed them. There’s a big multi-hundred page binder of it sitting right to my right on my desk, and I refer to it frequently. I can’t say that I’m aware of anything specific that I would dispute in it. Certainly, as you may know, not only did we fully cooperate with him in the investigation, as he noted in his report, but actually assigned a bunch of agents and FBI personnel to work on it with him to help him. And I’m very proud of the fact that the reforms that we’ve put in place in response to the Inspector General’s investigation and also into Crossfire Hurricane, as well as some other changes that we’ve made working closely with Attorney General Barr, if those reforms had been in place back at the time that all of this stuff that Special Counsel Durham found, I don’t think any of this would’ve happened.

Scott Fitzgerald (04:56:07):

So the confirmation bias, which was brought up time and time again when Durham was here before the committee, you feel those have been addressed? I think Jason Jones says you put together a letter and that includes a lot of that information. Do you feel that’s adequate?

Director Wray (04:56:23):

Well, I’m ambitious by nature for us as an organization, so we’re constantly looking for more things we can do. But I’ll give you an example on this issue of bias, because I think it’s so important. One of the things that I did as FBI director, and I did this a couple of years ago was in order… And this, frankly, it was in reaction many ways more to both the Hillary Clinton investigation as well as the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, was that I put in place training for the entire workforce that focused specifically not just on the importance of avoiding bias, but the importance of avoiding even the appearance of bias. And one of the things that I did to make sure that I was sending that message was that rather than the way it normally happens in a bureaucracy, where all the training gets saddled on all the folks on the front lines right out of the gates, I started with the top 200, 300 or so people in the organization, brought them all to Quantico for an entire day stand-down.


We heard from the federal judiciary, the Inspector General, the Hatch Act Office of Special Counsel. And the whole point of it was the importance of not just objectivity, but making sure that we are faithful to the appearance of objectivity as well. And then we had a smaller version of that that went out to the whole workforce. But the idea was to send the message that everybody at the top has to take the medicine first.

Scott Fitzgerald (04:57:45):

So there’s two other things that were in there. Serious lack of analytical rigor was one of the other things that Durham brought up numerous times. There was a noticeable departure from how the FBI approached matters involving possible attempted foreign election interference plans, amid, as you just brought up, at the Clinton campaign. So the question would be, has the FBI protocol surrounding investigations, I want to know specifically in the presidential campaigns, what’s the policy now? We’re on the verge of another nationwide election, and I’m wondering, is there anything specific in writing that you could inform the committee of this afternoon?

Director Wray (04:58:31):

Well, we put in place a whole slew of reforms that [inaudible 04:58:34] help to try to mitigate against the kind of concerns you’re raising. I don’t think there’s any one that’s a single silver bullet. I know that Attorney General Barr and I put in place certain reforms that dealt with particularly sensitive investigations and approvals that would have to be required before anything like that could happen. I know that was very important to him, and we worked together on that. But we have a whole slew of additional approvals, sign-offs, triple checks, safeguards, et cetera, that go into a lot of these kinds of issues. When you raise the issue of analytical rigor, I talk about rigor. I bet my folks would tell you they hear the word rigor coming out of my mouth probably every single day. And that is something that we’re always aspiring to get better at.

Scott Fitzgerald (04:59:21):

So if you had somebody within the FBI that you found out was involved in trying to manipulate or rig an election, especially at the national level, I mean, how would that be handled by the FBI? How would you handle it as a director?

Director Wray (04:59:37):

Well, it obviously would depend on the specific facts as to exactly what it is the person was doing. But accepting your premise, that’s the kind of thing that would have the person referred to our disciplinary process.

Scott Fitzgerald (04:59:48):

To be fired or terminated?

Director Wray (04:59:50):

And the process would play itself out. I mean, we have a whole offense code that goes into what different rules we have and different punishments and there’s a whole complicated system that goes into the disciplinary process. Our disciplinary process is, for the most part, I think, one of the better ones in federal law enforcement. But there is a process that we have to follow.

Scott Fitzgerald (05:00:10):

Has anybody that was involved in that type of action in the past been disciplined for that at the FBI?

Director Wray (05:00:18):

Well, let me answer that this way. Obviously, former employees, the important point here is that all the senior managers in any way involved in the Crossfire Hurricane investigation are all gone from the FBI for a variety of reasons in a variety of ways. To the extent that there’s anybody left, you’re talking about a small handful of currently line level employees, all of whom have been referred to this disciplinary process. That process, as you may have heard me say in response to an earlier exchange, as is typical, working with Special Counsel Durham, we had to put that on hold until he could finish his case, because the criminal case had to come first. And that process is now fully underway. But again, you’re talking about a few relatively line level people where we erred on the side of inclusion. So anybody who touched it, we sent them to the process and we’ll see where that plays itself out. But the key point is that all the main players, if you will, the senior people are all gone. I put in place an entirely new leadership team.

Scott Fitzgerald (05:01:22):

Very good. I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (05:01:23):

Gentleman yields back. Gentleman from Oregon’s recognized.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:01:27):

Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thank you, Director, for your patience. So you’re very, very good at your job, as illustrated by the last four hours. And I just want to say that you’re way better at defending than you are at explaining what you’re going to do about the problems that have led to your dismal public profile. And I wish it was better, but I have the most recent poll here. I think it’s from Harris. Yes, it is. The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll. 70% of respondents said that they were either very or somewhat concerned about interference by the FBI and other intelligence agencies in elections. 71% agreed that changes post-2016 had not done enough to prevent further interference, and that wide-ranging reform still required. Now, I also… Pretty interesting article in the Inquirer, see, Damning Durham Report. And I’ll just read from you this quote from Mr. Durham.


“The promulgation of additional rules and regulations to be learned in yet more training sessions would likely prove to be a fruitless exercise.” So you must have done something more than promulgating additional rules and regulations, because to me, that doesn’t do much at all when it’s going to an issue that probably is cultural. And to that end, I just want to share with you some of the things I hear from my sheriffs across my 20 counties. I have 20 county sheriffs. In fact, one of my brothers used to be one for 15 years. And so I called him, my brother, and I said, “Hey, what was your experience with the FBI?” And he said, “They’re very qualified, but when they appear, you know you have to be aware that part of their job is to enforce Section 1983.” And he pointed that out just because there’s a constant tension between FBI and local law enforcement. Would you agree?


And by the way, when you go out and you talk to sheriffs, nobody’s going to say to the director of the FBI, “We don’t like you.” Why would they do such a crazy thing? They want your help. And by the way, I asked for your help down in Southern Oregon against all the drug cartels. And to your credit and your office out of Portland’s credit, you did your best to help. You don’t have very many people there, but you did your best to help. But for you to come in here and say, “I’ve never heard from a sheriff that we’re doing a bad job,” well, no you haven’t. But now tell me, am I wrong? Am I saying that sheriffs would walk right up to you and say, “You’re doing a bad job”? I mean, how many have said that to you?

Director Wray (05:04:06):

Well, my experience with sheriffs actually has been that they are often very colorful and very blunt in their communications.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:04:15):

But you didn’t mention-

Director Wray (05:04:16):

So I feel that they-

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:04:17):

Forgive me for interrupting, but earlier today, you didn’t say anything about them being negative. And what I’m trying to get at here is you’ve done your job today to defend your agency, and good for you. But it’s not what we’re here today. I want to go to Durham’s, page 288 of his report. And this is going to the heart, I think, of what part of your problem may be. And he’s making his observations, he’s very careful to protect you. He says, “In making observations we’re mindful of the benefit of hindsight.” And then he says this: “Some FBI employees who were interviewed by our investigators advised they had significant reservations about aspects of Crossfire Hurricane and tried to convey their misgivings. Others had doubts about the investigation, did not voice their concerns. In some cases nothing’s been said because of a sense there had to be more compelling information in possession of those closest to the… And still other current and former employees who maintained they did their best to take reasonable investigative steps and acting within your procedure and [inaudible 05:05:13].”


What I’m getting at here is I don’t think people within your organization are comfortable calling out negative things. I don’t think they are. And I wouldn’t be either, I’d be worried. Because I look at what happens to whistleblowers and others. I’d go, “Oh, man. This is not a safe place to be. I’m going to keep my mouth shut.” And I think that is not a good thing for your agency. But you know where it starts? It starts with actually admitting that you got a problem, and I don’t think you’re very good at that either. I’m going to your testimony, page 13. You might want to look at it. I’m sure you wrote it so you probably don’t have to. But on page 13, last paragraph, you write, “To be sure, nobody more deeply shares members’ concerns regarding past FBI,” and here’s the words, “compliance violations.”


Compliance… Is that all they did? Aren’t there a whole bunch of better terms? I went to ChatGPT to find out, and I found these words that might have been better. But I’m really asking you, is that all they did? Didn’t they break a law? Didn’t they do something more than failure to comply? I’m asking you, if the culture is the issue, doesn’t the leader have to at least call out bad acts a little more aggressively? That’s my question.

Director Wray (05:06:27):

Number one, depending on what the violation is, that may or may not be the right description. Some of the things that have happened in the past are things that I have deplored in the strongest possible terms. Some of the things that have happened in the past, I think are described as compliance violations. So there’s no one description that fits everything that has gone wrong at the FBI over the last five or 10 years. My language in general tends to be fairly measured. I think that’s a fair statement about me. Some people refer to me as low- key, but no one should ever mistake my demeanor for what my spine is made out of. And I have made it very clear to our people, over and over and over again, that I expect them to do their work in the right way, with rigor and objectivity.


And as to FBI employees’ willingness to speak freely and to complain, much like our exchange about sheriffs, I will tell you, your description of our employees doesn’t fit with my experience. When I get out to all 56 field offices, one of the things that I do, especially on this last round, my second round, was to meet with employees without their executive management present. Just me and them, including people who are retirement eligible. And we have a term, an affectionate slang term for people who are retirement eligible, it’s called KMA. You can guess what KMA stands for. And it reflects their ability, because they’re retirement eligible, to be able to speak freely. And they complain to me about all kinds of things and we have a very lively conversation. So I’m quite confident that my employees feel comfortable talking to me about problems and things that we need to fix. But my demeanor is part of what you’re reacting to.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:08:17):

Forgive me for interrupting, but my time is over. I want to thank you for your candor and I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (05:08:23):

Gentleman yields back. The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Van Drew, is recognized.

Mr. Roy (05:08:28):

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Director Wray, thank you for being here. Believe it or not, I’m basically just a simple country dentist, but I do know my dentistry. And one thing I know about are abscesses. If you have an abscess, you can have a mild or moderate one, and you treat it with antibiotics and warm salt rinses, in a week to 10 days, it’ll be better. If you have a severe one, you’ve got to take a scalpel to that abscess. You’ve got to cut it open and you’ve got to let the puss and the blood and the gas drain out. If you don’t, that abscess will travel. It’ll travel to the patient’s brain, possibly, or their heart, and it definitely can kill them. That’s the type of infection that I feel is within the FBI today.


It has gotten so deep that we need to get in there with a metaphorical scalpel before it kills our nation. We need real structural change, and this committee is that metaphorical scalpel. A clear sign of the rot is a memo where your agents, and I know you say you feel bad about this too, but nevertheless, and I don’t think you like to talk about it. But your agents in the field office attempted to spy on Catholic churches and their congregations and frame them as extremists. This is unbelievable. How do we get there? Who exactly are the Catholics you’re going to go after here, or they were going to go after? The charitable men of the Knights of Columbus that help their communities, that help charities, that help people in every way they can? Or maybe we meant the folks that are fighting for the sanctity of life.


Or are you talking about those who hold true to their beliefs, rooted in the traditional values and teachings of the Catholic faith? As a Roman Catholic myself, and I believe you are as well, I was deeply, deeply disturbed by this memo. And it’s shameful it was only rescinded after basically it got leaked to the public. That should scare each and every American, from parents at school board meetings to grandmas clutching their rosary beads. The misguided priorities of our intelligence community put every American at risk and it is wrong, it is un-American, and it undermines two of our most important tenets: freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It’s what our nation is built upon. Director Wray, you work for the American people. They pay your salary. They pay all of our salaries. They don’t work for us, you work for them.


You’re supposed to protect them from the bad guys, and now many feel that they need protection from the FBI. I have a few questions here. Despite multiple requests, why hasn’t the FBI produced an unredacted copy of this memo that really outlines this? It isn’t public security, isn’t national security, it isn’t public safety. This is an internal thing that you all did that was wrong, and we as a committee, this committee, have the right to look at it. When are we going to get it? Why haven’t we gotten it already, unredacted?

Director Wray (05:11:44):

We redact information for a variety of reasons that cover various rules that apply to us [inaudible 05:11:50].

Mr. Roy (05:11:50):

Sir, I want to know why this one. I don’t know about the rules. I told you, man, I’m not a lawyer, all right? But you know what I want to know? I want to know why we don’t know what happened here, that people in their churches have to worry. And it isn’t something that’s going to affect national security. So whatever damn rule it is you have, we should change that rule. Because when something like this happens, and it isn’t a matter of national security, then we should know. So I’d like to know when we’re going to get it. I’d like a date certain.

Director Wray (05:12:19):

What I can tell you is that we are almost done with our internal review. And as I said to the chairman, we’re going to be providing a briefing to the committee on what the internal review found.

Mr. Roy (05:12:27):


Director Wray (05:12:28):

It should be later this summer.

Mr. Roy (05:12:32):

Good you’re doing an internal review, you should do a lot internally. But why don’t we get the information when we ask for it, when we subpoena for it? We clearly are not creating any risk to our nation or national security. You could give us that tomorrow. Why don’t we get that part tomorrow, and then you can give us a briefing in the internal review?

Director Wray (05:12:51):

As I said, we’re going to give you a briefing on the internal review and then we can discuss additional information that may-

Mr. Roy (05:12:56):

Because you’re going to try to shape it differently and make it out that it was kind of okay.

Director Wray (05:13:01):

No. On that, no. I will tell you that I am not going to defend or excuse that memo or that product.

Mr. Roy (05:13:08):

I understand you said that. These are real easy questions. Has the FBI created or maintained any list of Roman Catholic churches, yes or no?

Director Wray (05:13:18):

Any list of Roman Catholic churches?

Mr. Roy (05:13:20):


Director Wray (05:13:22):

Well, we’re certainly not targeting any Roman Catholic churches.

Mr. Roy (05:13:24):

Well, they were. They were. The field office was, until [inaudible 05:13:28] found out. But as a yes or no, do you have a list? If you don’t have a list, it’s easy to say no.

Director Wray (05:13:34):

We have 38,000 employees. We engage with churches of all kinds.

Mr. Roy (05:13:39):

So you may have a list of churches that you’re looking at for possible-

Director Wray (05:13:42):

No, no, no, no. Not for possible investigation.

Mr. Roy (05:13:45):

How about Russian Orthodox churches?

Director Wray (05:13:47):

Same answer.

Mr. Roy (05:13:48):

Greek Orthodox churches. Tell me, yes or no? Evangelical churches. Tell me yes or no.

Director Wray (05:13:55):

We not maintain-

Mr. Roy (05:13:56):

Yes or no?

Director Wray (05:13:57):

Excuse me?

Mr. Roy (05:13:58):

Please answer yes or no.

Director Wray (05:13:59):

It’s not a yes or no question.

Mr. Roy (05:14:01):

It is a yes or no. If you’ve got a list of churches that you’re targeting and looking at, the answer is yes. If you don’t, the answer is no.

Director Wray (05:14:07):

If your question is do we have a list of churches that we are targeting, then the answer is no, we do not have-

Mr. Roy (05:14:12):

How about Jewish synagogues? Yes or no? Same question.

Director Wray (05:14:15):

We do not maintain any kind of list of religious institutions that we’re targeting because we are not targeting religious institutions.

Mr. Roy (05:14:21):

Let me tell you, it’s a sorry state of affairs that these questions are questions I have to ask. And it’s a damn shame to see what’s become of our once universally respected FBI. We need structural change. And Mr. Chairman, I yield back.

Mr. Jordan (05:14:37):

Gentleman yields back. Director, the five individuals who signed off on that memo, have any of them lost their security clearance during this internal investigation?

Director Wray (05:14:46):

I don’t believe anybody has lost a security clearance. But again, we have an internal review pending and I’ll let that finish, come to its conclusion.

Mr. Jordan (05:14:58):

How’d you become aware of the Catholic memo

Mr. Jordan (05:15:00):

– memo that the gentleman just referenced.

Director Wray (05:15:02):

How did I become aware of it?

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:15:03):

Point of order. Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Jordan (05:15:06):

Gentlemen may state his point of order.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:15:08):

Whose time is the chairman consuming with his?

Mr. Jordan (05:15:12):

I thought for the committee… It’s not a point of order. The chair now recognizes the gentleman for Texas for five minutes.

Mr. Nehls (05:15:18):

Thank you, sir. I will say this, Mr. Wray, I’m one of those sheriffs that will be very blunt with you today as right here. I’ve had an opportunity to look at your testimony, lots of stuff and hear about numerous task forces, crimes being committed against children, including even infants and toddlers. MS-13 gang members coming across the open southern border, the poisoning and killing of the American people with fentanyl, the sex trafficking, the human trafficking. It’s quite clear. It is clear that you guys are dealing with some of the sickest bastards in our society. I have an article here from CNN in January, 2022 calling the January 6th investigation, the biggest investigation in FBI history. And what shocks me about this, quite honestly is that you don’t mention January 6th. Again, the biggest investigation, not one time in your 14-page testimony. You don’t mention it one time. And that makes me ask myself the question, what the hell are you hiding? Sir, you mentioned 38,000 agents and support personnel in your agency. How many FBI agents and support personnel had you assigned to the January 6th investigation?

Director Wray (05:16:37):

I don’t know that I know the number. I know we have a lot of people working on it in multiple fields.

Mr. Nehls (05:16:41):

Fair enough. Lots. Yeah. Knowing that you are dealing with some of the sickest people in our society with investigations related to child sex trafficking, have you reassigned any of these agents or personnel to investigate January 6th? Yes or no?

Director Wray (05:17:01):

I don’t believe we have reassigned people away from child exploitation to January 6th, but-

Mr. Nehls (05:17:06):

Let me just say this director, I find that answer disturbing because last month, Steve Friend, he testified before the Weaponization Committee, Mr. Friend was a domestic terrorism investigator for you, and he was told by one of his superiors that January 6th was, I quote, “A higher priority than pursuing child pornography cases.” And for those of you watching in America, understand, today’s FBI is more concerned about searching for and arresting grandma and grandpa for entering the Capitol building that day than pursuing the sick individuals in our society who prey on our children. And Mr. Wray, your priorities are flawed.


But let’s rehash what we know so far, all right? It’s the largest investigation in FBI history and you don’t mention it in your testimony. Agents have been reassigned from child exploitation cases and so on. So now let’s get into the money, Mr. Wray, how much taxpayer money has been spent on January 6th?

Director Wray (05:18:07):

I don’t know that I have the figure in my head.

Mr. Nehls (05:18:09):

Oh, you don’t have it my head. But Mr. Wray, I got an article here December, 2022, two years after the events of January 6th and it says the Justice Department has requested another $34 million from Congress. And number one, you shouldn’t get another dime. The FBI shouldn’t get another dime for this political witch hunt against the greatest President in my lifetime, Donald J. Trump. I want to turn my attention now to this fella, this character, Mr. Ray Epps. We’ve all heard of him. We’ve heard of Mr. Ray Epps. He was number 16 on your FBI most wanted list. He was encouraging people the night prior and the day of to go into the Capitol. And Mr. Ray Epps can be seen at the first breach of Capitol Grounds at approximately 12:50 PM. Play the clip please.

Ray Epps (05:19:01):

We need to go into the Capitol. Into the Capitol.


We are going to the Capitol where our problems are. It’s that direction. Please spread the word.



Speaker 8 (05:19:02):


Ray Epps (05:19:02):

Okay, but one more thing.

Speaker 8 (05:19:15):

If we go up there-

Ray Epps (05:19:38):

When we go in, leave this here.

Speaker 8 (05:19:42):

Are we going to get arrested if we go up there?

Ray Epps (05:19:42):

You don’t need to get shot.

Mr. Nehls (05:19:43):

There he is breaching the line. Going in at the first breach into the Capitol, into the Capitol grounds, a restricted area. Mr. Wray, you have arrested hundreds of people related to January 6th and there have been people arrested for breaching Capital grounds. Couy Griffin is an example. Rachel Genko is an example. And then we go to Mr. Brandon Straka. Brandon was arrested for disorderly and disruptive conduct, which included yelling I quote, “Go, go, go” as rioters tried to empty the Capitol. These three never went into the Capitol. They never assaulted anyone. So let’s be honest with each other.


There is very little difference between the actions of Ray Epps and Brandon Straka that day. But yet Straka was arrested and Epps wasn’t. Epps also testified to the January 6th committee he was back at his hotel when video evidence showed that he wasn’t, he lied, he was on the Capitol grounds just as Brandon Straka was. Epps even texted his nephew at 2:12 PM and said, I quote, “I was in the front with a few others. It was on the video. I also orchestrated it.” Now look into the camera, sir. When you answer my next question, are you going to arrest Mr. Epps? Yes or no?

Director Wray (05:20:57):

I’m not going to engage here in a discussion about individual people who are or are not going to be prosecuted.

Mr. Nehls (05:21:03):

Can I get a commitment? You just watched the video. I’m an old law dog. I understand a little bit about probable cause. He did very little. There was very little difference what he did and Mr. Straka, you can see him. He’s encouraging. I almost think he’s inciting the riot. He’s encouraging people the night prior to go into the Capitol, the day of, go into the Capitol and he was at the first breach and he breached the restricted area. Everybody, a lot of people getting arrested for not going into the Capitol, but they are in the restricted area. But yet Ray Epps, who many people feel fed, fed, fed, right? And there’s a lot of clout over this. So my point is this, you arrested a lot of folks for unlawful activity. You just saw the video and I will tell you, Mr. Wray-

Speaker 9 (05:21:45):

I know what a Mr.-

Mr. Nehls (05:21:46):

If you don’t arrest Mr. Epps, there’s the reason behind it. I believe you know what it is and it appears to me you are protecting this guy. I strongly recommend you get your house back in order. With that, I yield back.

Director Wray (05:21:57):

Mr. Chairman, if I may briefly.

Mr. Jordan (05:21:59):

Gentlemen will respond, then we got a couple point of orders.

Director Wray (05:22:02):

It is not-

Mr. Jordan (05:22:02):

[inaudible 05:22:03] unanimous consent. Excuse me, go ahead.

Director Wray (05:22:04):

It has never been appropriate for an FBI director in Congressional testimony to be weighing in on who is or isn’t going to be arrested and who is or isn’t going to get charged, which is a prosecutor’s decision. If you are suggesting that the violence at the Capitol on January 6th was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources or FBI agents, the answer is no, it was not. And to suggest otherwise is a disservice to our hardworking, dedicated law enforcement profession.

Mr. Nehls (05:22:37):

Can I respond to that now that? The point is he was number 16 on your list. He was 16 on your list, you never arrested the gentleman. Hundreds of Americans were arrested.

Mr. Jordan (05:22:46):

[inaudible 05:22:47] has expired.

Mr. Nehls (05:22:47):

Shame on you.

Mr. Jordan (05:22:47):

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Florida for unanimous consent.

Mr. Gaetz (05:22:50):

Ms. Chairman, I seek unanimous consent for all members have five legislative days to submit any additional materials as well as any questions for the record for the Director. And I would hope that those questions for the record we would submit would receive more timely responses than some of our letters have. I would further seek unanimous consent that the WhatsApp message from Hunter Biden I used earlier in the hearing be submitted for the record.

Mr. Jordan (05:23:12):

Well, without objection, gentlemen from Georgia is recognized.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:23:15):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. I have a unanimous consent request that a article from the Daily Mail dated today with the headline January 6th Protestor Ray Epps reveals he’s forced to live in a RV in hiding after death threats over FBI informant conspiracy. Feds confirmed he’s never worked for them as he slams right wing theorist using him as a scapegoat. I’d like to offer this into the record.

Mr. Jordan (05:23:49):

Objection. Chair recognizes gentleman from Texas.

Mr. Moran (05:23:53):

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Director Wray, thank you for your time today. You said earlier in response to representative [inaudible 05:24:00] questions that the job of the FBI is to one, undertake criminal investigations and two, protect the US from national security threats. Would you agree with me that in doing those activities, the FBI has to do a lot of that in what are effectively confidential conditions? Is that correct?

Director Wray (05:24:16):


Mr. Moran (05:24:17):

And when you’re undertaking those activities in those confidential conditions, you’re going to require tools that have been appropriated by Congress in the past. Tools that say to you, we’re going to trust you to use those tools correctly and in return the FBI then is expected to not abuse the trust of those tools that are provided to the FBI to undertake its activities. Is that a correct statement as well?

Director Wray (05:24:40):

Yes, I would agree with that.

Mr. Moran (05:24:41):

So trust is a very important thing. Both the giving of trust, when you give those tools and then making sure that you do not abuse that trust once those tools have been given to you. Were you aware that according to a recent poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris, 70% of respondents in the United States said that they were either very or somewhat concerned about interference by the FBI and other intelligence agencies in the elections. Were you aware of that?

Director Wray (05:25:06):

I’m not aware of the particular survey or poll or study or whatever it is.

Mr. Moran (05:25:10):

In that same poll, 71% of Americans, which is certainly a bipartisan group, agreed that internal FBI changes post 2016 had not done enough to prevent further interference elections and that “wide-ranging reform was still required.” And again, you’re not aware of those numbers?

Director Wray (05:25:30):


Mr. Moran (05:25:31):

Does any of that shock you?

Director Wray (05:25:32):

I don’t spend a lot of time, as FBI director, worrying about polls. What I do look at is whether people want to work with us, whether people want to work for us. And on both of those metrics, we’re actually going up quite significantly. In fact, in your home state of Texas, we’ve got a 93% increase in the number of Texans applying to work for the FBI.

Mr. Moran (05:25:56):

Well, even if you don’t look at-

Director Wray (05:25:56):

Since I’ve been in this job and in fact it’s the highest, Texas has more people applying to work for the FBI than any other state in the union.

Mr. Moran (05:26:03):

Even if you do not watch polls, certainly you appreciate the fact that you want the trust of the American people. Would you agree with that?

Director Wray (05:26:12):


Mr. Moran (05:26:13):

All right. Does it bother you that so many Americans do not trust the FBI presently?

Director Wray (05:26:18):

Well, again, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about polls. I do care about what I hear from the American people.

Mr. Moran (05:26:22):

Lack of trust.

Director Wray (05:26:22):

But otherwise, but it bothers me anytime any American has lost trust in the FBI. Of course that concerns me.

Mr. Moran (05:26:30):

Earlier you’re talking to a representative [inaudible 05:26:33] and you said, where we can take action, where possible to remove them from the chain of command and then you ended your time, you got cut off because we had to get some votes. You were going to say something further on that. Do you have any plans to remove anybody from the chain of command or go through a process to determine who should be removed from the chain of command?

Director Wray (05:26:50):

Well, I have already removed any number of people at different stages of my tenure from the chain of command. I have also referred people to our disciplinary arm, which has resulted in some cases in termination.

Mr. Moran (05:27:05):

Do you have any plans to do any more of that?

Director Wray (05:27:08):

If somebody has violated a rule, absolutely.

Mr. Moran (05:27:12):

When we talk about a good faith basis for trust of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, does it bother you that these illegal FISA queries have continued even with efforts of the FBI to try to reduce them, that we now have somewhere between a couple hundred thousand and at least a million of illegal FISA inquiries?

Director Wray (05:27:32):

Well, there are two things going on there. One, I think your numbers of what are actually illegal are off. But second and more importantly to me, all of the changes that we have put in place to address compliance failures that I consider unacceptable, have pointed to the effectiveness of the reforms that we put in place. So that I’m talking about-

Mr. Moran (05:27:54):

What number of illegal FISA queries would you put on the table, as those that you know of?

Director Wray (05:28:00):

Well, here’s what I can tell you, the most recent FISA court opinion found a think it’s a like 98% compliance rate. The most recent DOJ audit found a 99 or 98% compliance rate.

Mr. Moran (05:28:13):

Is that acceptable to you? Is that 1% or 2% acceptable?

Director Wray (05:28:16):

We strive, no, we strive for a hundred percent, but all of those things, all of those things but it’s the FISK, the FISA court, whether it’s ODNI, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, whether it’s DOJ, whether it’s our own office of internal audit, which I created by the way, all four of those things have shown that the reforms that we’ve been putting in place have already had dramatic positive impact. Am I satisfied with that? No.

Mr. Moran (05:28:42):

Has anybody been fired or removed as a result of their inappropriate use of FISA?

Director Wray (05:28:47):

Well, the last time somebody has had truly abusive behavior with respect to FISA, it goes back a ways, but those people have been gone from the organization.

Mr. Moran (05:28:58):

Are you making distinction between truly abusive and just abusive? What’s the distinction there?

Director Wray (05:29:03):

Well, the distinction I would draw is between intentional or reckless conduct versus somebody who makes a good faith mistake. To me, a good faith mistake is still a compliance violation and still somebody needs to be counseled and trained and coached and taught to do it right, but that’s different from somebody who intentionally or recklessly breaks the rules.

Mr. Moran (05:29:22):

Director Wray, I’m going to go back where I started and that is with trust. We trust you when we give the FBI tools, we trust that those tools would not be abused. I think in the last six years certainly we’ve seen a number of abuses of the tools given, and I think as a result of that, you’re going to see a curtailment of some of the tools that are provided to the FBI. That’s not a choice that we’re in a position that we want to make, but we have to make as a result of the abuses of the trust of the American people. Thank you for your time today.

Mr. Jordan (05:29:54):

Gentlemen yields back. Director Wray, I have just a couple extra questions, but in fairness of the minority, I’ll recognize Mr. Johnson. So he’ll go for a few questions. I’ll have a few, and then we appreciate you being here for this length of time and then we’ll be able to adjourn the hearing. But the gentleman from Georgia is recognized.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:30:08):

Thank you, Director Wray, you have acquitted yourself admirably today under severe and constant fire, and so your day is about to come to a close with your head still standing, your head still held high and your soul, I’m sure, further empowered to continue doing the right thing on behalf of the American people through your service as director of the FBI, and I thank you for that. You were asked multiple times about the Missouri versus Biden injunction, this is a preliminary injunction issued on a holiday, July 4th, Independence Day, and it makes various allegations that thus far have been totally unproven, but relied upon as true here by members of this committee. What is your response to the allegations that the FBI has been engaged in censoring social media platforms or anyone else?

Director Wray (05:31:27):

Well, while I respect the court’s decision, I think there are a number of factual findings that we don’t agree with, and certainly the FBI is not engaged, in my view, in censorship or content suppression.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:31:48):

My Republican colleagues also seem to think that the FBI is being weaponized against the American people. What is your response to that allegation? And that will be my final question for today to you.

Director Wray (05:32:05):

The FBI that I see every day, and again when I see the FBI, nobody gets to see it the way I do. I’ve been to all 56 of our field offices at least twice. I’ve spoken with partners, law enforcement partners in all 50 states, multiple times with federal judges all over the country, with business leaders, community leaders, prosecutors, victims more importantly, and their families. The FBI that I see every day is working their tails off to protect the American people from a really staggering array of threats.


They are an inspiring, incredibly dedicated group of people, and the FBI I see is best captured by the Chicago agent who had his arm shot up by an AR-15, chasing a fugitive and retrained himself to shoot left-handed and then requalified for SWAT left-handed. By the Atlanta agent who unexpectedly came across a fugitive, a gang fugitive, chased the guy into a car, got caught in the car door, the guy drove off with the Atlanta agent, stuck in the door. The guy headed out onto the freeway. The poor agent broke his pelvis and Lord knows how many other things, and yet he still managed to apprehend the subject.


The FBI that I see is captured by the Portland agent who out for a run, comes across a mentally ill woman down in the train tracks and climbs down in the train tracks to try to wrestle her out of the way of the oncoming train while she’s trying to bite him and everything else and gets her to safety. Or the bomb tech who comes across a booby trap, blows up on him and the next business day he’s back at work. That’s the FBI that I see. I could give you countless examples. That is the real FBI.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:34:00):

Well, I thank you again for your service and I appreciate the fact that you have allowed your somewhat loquacious to emerge during this hearing with that final response. Thank you.

Mr. Jordan (05:34:14):

I think gentleman yields back. Director, we appreciate those, the whole country does. In fact, I said this in an interview this morning at a TV interview this morning. Two of those agents who served for years in the FBI did great work, now work for the committee on the Republican staff, and we appreciate the work they did then, the work they’re doing now, but they share the same concerns raised by members of the committee. That’s why they came to work for us. I just got a couple other questions. Any of the FBI personnel who did improper queries of the 702 database, have any of those individuals lost their clearance?

Director Wray (05:34:51):

Well, we had, depends on how far back you want to go in time. We’ve had individuals, if you go back to say like 2018 I think was the last I remember, where you had somebody who engaged in intentional conduct and the person, for example, is gone. I think there were security clearances revoked for people back in that time period, but I don’t know that we’ve had somebody who’s engaged in intentional or reckless conduct more recently than that. We have, as you may know, Mr. Chairman, and this actually didn’t come up today, but it’s important for people to know. We recently put in place a whole new set of accountability policies, specifically focused on 702. They go through cascading consequences and so that’s an important-

Mr. Jordan (05:35:38):

It’s been reported that donors of a Congressional member of Congress were illegally searched. Has that individual lost their clearance?

Director Wray (05:35:50):

I’m not sure I’m familiar with the specific example so.

Mr. Jordan (05:35:52):

Well, it’s been widely reported that the donor base for a member of Congress has been searched, and I just wonder if the person responsible for that has had any consequences like a loss of security clearance.

Director Wray (05:36:06):

I don’t know the answer.

Mr. Jordan (05:36:07):

Okay. Is the FBI assisting the Secret Service in the investigation as to how cocaine wound up at the White House?

Director Wray (05:36:15):

Yes. I want to be a little bit careful about what I can say here because Secret Service is leading the investigation, but as is standard in an investigation where white powder is found, the FBI’s lab personnel did an evaluation to determine whether or not there was a sort of biological-

Mr. Jordan (05:36:34):

Is that the only assistance?

Director Wray (05:36:36):

That’s the only assistance we’ve done so far. We have offered the full range of our assistance to the Secret Service if they want to use us for that purpose. But beyond that purpose, sir, I would refer you to the Secret Service.

Mr. Jordan (05:36:48):

Is that offer’s been denied? Is that what you’re saying? I guess-

Director Wray (05:36:51):

No, I didn’t say that. I just, we’ve offered it to the Secret Service, but beyond that, I would refer to them.

Mr. Jordan (05:36:56):

In October of 2020 when Facebook asked the FBI is the Biden laptop story Russian disinformation, the FBI’s answer was no comment. Who gave that answer?

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:37:06):

And before your answer, sir, if I might just interject the fact that we agreed that I would have two questions and you would have two questions.

Mr. Jordan (05:37:15):

I think I said a couple questions.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:37:17):

Yeah, and you’ve asked a couple-

Mr. Jordan (05:37:19):

I don’t think, I know I said a couple questions, but I gave you five minutes so. Do you want another question?

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:37:24):

No, I want us to conclude this hearing and I respect-

Mr. Jordan (05:37:28):

We’ll be done in two minutes and 10 seconds.

Mr. Johnson (GA) (05:37:31):

Thank you.

Mr. Jordan (05:37:31):

And we appreciate that and we obviously appreciate the Director being here. In October, 2020 when Facebook asked FBI is the Biden laptop story Russian disinformation, the FBI’s response was no comment. Do you know who gave that response?

Director Wray (05:37:44):

I do not.

Mr. Jordan (05:37:45):

The court knew and the court said it was Laura Dehmlow. Do you know who Laura Dehmlow is?

Director Wray (05:37:49):

I do know who Laura Dehmlow is.

Mr. Jordan (05:37:51):

What does she do?

Director Wray (05:37:53):

Laura Dehmlow is an agent in our counterintelligence division and she currently works with the Foreign Influence Task Force.

Mr. Jordan (05:38:01):

Is she head of the Foreign Influence Task Force?

Director Wray (05:38:04):

I think she leads it, yeah.

Mr. Jordan (05:38:05):

She leads the Foreign Influence Task Force. Did you tell her to give that comment?

Director Wray (05:38:10):

Did I what now?

Mr. Jordan (05:38:11):

Did you instruct anyone, when Facebook asked, did you instruct them to give the no comment?

Director Wray (05:38:17):

I don’t remember giving any instruction along those lines, although I should say, I’m not sure whether Laura Dehmlow was in that role at the timeframe that you described, but-

Mr. Jordan (05:38:25):

Again, the court in Louisiana said she was and said when Facebook asked her specifically, she said, “No comment.” And this is the Foreign Influence Task Force Leader, Foreign Influence Task Force that you created as Director of the FBI, correct?

Director Wray (05:38:38):

I’m sorry?

Mr. Jordan (05:38:39):

Oh, that’s correct. You created the Foreign Influence Task-

Director Wray (05:38:41):

I did create the Foreign Influence Task Force.

Mr. Jordan (05:38:42):

Yeah, you put that together and she heads it up. Okay. How did you become aware of the Catholic memo, the one in Richmond that we’ve talked about a couple times a day?

Director Wray (05:38:55):

As I recall, in one of my regular morning meetings, I learned that there was this product and that was the same day that I ordered that it be removed.

Mr. Jordan (05:39:11):

Was that before or after it was already in the press?

Director Wray (05:39:14):

That I can’t tell you. My guess is it was probably around the same time, but I don’t know.

Mr. Jordan (05:39:18):

Did you learn about it? Did the people who brought it up to you, did they learn about it from the press or was it some internal communication?

Director Wray (05:39:24):

I can’t speak to how they learned about it. I just know that I was told about it by them and we had a conversation about immediately taking steps that we then did.

Mr. Jordan (05:39:34):

And we appreciate it and we appreciate that. Okay. Director, we appreciate your time today. I know it’s been a long day. We already had the unanimous consent for Mr. Gaetz, so the committee is adjourned.


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