Federal Bureau of Investigation chief defends agency after Donald Trump attacks

FBI chief defends agency after Trump says it's in

Asked to clarify what he meant, Wray explained the FBI would be prepared to reopen an investigation as long as there is no statute of limitation issue.

Goodlatte made it clear that Republicans on the committee are pursuing evidence of bias in the Mueller investigation.

"If you kicked everybody off of Mueller's team who was anti-Trump, I don't think there'd be anybody left", said Jordan, alleging there is "more" behind Strzok's departure from Mueller's team. Wray became the director four months ago after Comey was sacked by Trump, and the new director has tried to keep a low profile and steer the agency clear of the public fights surrounding Trump, Clinton and Comey.

Representative Steve Chabot, an Ohio Republican, said "the depths of this anti-Trump bias on the Mueller team just goes on an on".

"It is absolutely unacceptable for FBI employees to permit their own political predilections to contaminate any investigation", said the committee's chairman, Republican Rep.

Wray, who was nominated as FBI director by Trump, faced Republican criticism over perceived political bias in special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russian Federation during the 2016 presidential election and in the handling a year earlier of an FBI investigation Clinton's use of a private email server that ended without criminal charges.

That description is a far cry from how the president described the agency on Sunday, when he said "its reputation is in Tatters - worst in History!" in a tweet.

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Wray said that these mistakes get addressed after investigations by the Justice Department's inspector general. As CNN reported, Strzok changed Comey's key description of Clinton's actions from "grossly negligent" to "extremely careless".

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., praised the FBI and Justice Department, but added, "Unfortunately, the last two years have not been good years for the bureau, and they have not been good years for the department".

The disclosure of Strzok's political leanings raised questions from critics about the objectivity of Mueller's investigation.

And Mr Trump's firing of Mr Comey while he led the Russian Federation probe shows what can happen to a director who antagonises the president. The FBI director did, however, reassure lawmakers that Trump has not tried to interfere with his work or asked him to pledge any sort of loyalty oath directly to Trump, as Comey famously said the president did to him. "And my big concern is that local law enforcement will misinterpret that and will clamp down on people exercising their First Amendment rights". Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), then reminded Wray that his panel "has primary jurisdiction over the Foreign Intelligence Security Court", and that classified FISA documents could be shown to the committee in a classified setting.

The most prominent non-Russia related topic at the hearing was federal surveillance.

Since he was sworn in on August 2, the U.S. has experienced two of the deadliest shootings in its modern history and an attack seen as terrorism in Manhattan.

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