ART OF THE DODGE: FBI Director Evaded GOP Questions 96 Times During Hearing

July 14th, 2023 4:37 PM

House Republicans may have spent hours questioning embattled FBI Director Christopher Wray, but he spent much of that time dodging questions.

During his July 12 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray evaded GOP lawmakers’ questioning 96 times, compared to only 20 times in response to Democrats. Wray came up with no shortage of excuses to avoid answering questions, from claiming ignorance and putting explanations off to a future date to citing ongoing investigations.

Wray struggled throughout the hearing to respond to the FBI’s blatant disregard for the First Amendment, demonstrated by the bureau's collusion with Big Tech to suppress free speech. 

When Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) brought up the FBI’s collusion with Big Tech, Wray tried to avoid a question on disinformation. “Can you define what disinformation is?,” Johnson asked before confronting Wray with court testimony of an FBI agent on how the FBI pressured Big Tech to suppress free speech. The FBI director absurdly tried to dodge the question by saying he wasn’t sure if that “was a correct characterization of [the agent’s] testimony” and followed up by issuing a blanket denial of the collusion uncovered by the Twitter files and condemned in court.



Notably, eight of the 20  times that Wray evaded Democratic representatives’s questions were in response to questions about FBI overreach from Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA) and Rep. Cori Bush (MO). Jayapal questioned Wray about the FBI purchasing data, asking, “Can you tell me how the FBI uses that data?” Wray told Jayapal “I’m not trying to be obtuse or difficult,” despite twice telling Jayapal that the explanation would be “very involved” and even blowing past one of her questions.  In refusing to come clean about violating Americans civil liberties, Wray at least showed some bipartisanship. 

Wray deflected questions from Republican Rep. Ben Cline (VA) when asked about disciplinary action taken toward five individuals from the FBI’s Richmond office responsible for an egregious anti-Catholic memo. Wray weaseled his way out of answering questions from Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (OH) about when Congress could speak to the “five individuals," citing an ongoing “internal review.” He similarly told Cline that he wouldn’t “predetermine” discipline for those responsible. 

In some cases, Wray simply refused to answer. In response to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) quoting Hunter Biden allegedly using his father as leverage, Wray arrogantly said, “I’m not going to get into that.” 

Director Wray also used excuses to avoid answering Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) about the placement of pipe bombs during the January 6th Capitol Hill riot. Wray twice claimed that the pipe bomb investigation “was a very active and ongoing investigation” and dismissively told Massie, “I’m not going to get into that here.” Massie blasted Director Wray, reminding him, “900 days ago is when this happened and you said you would apprehend the subject,” in reference to the pipe bomb. 

Wray also refused to give clear answers over FBI requests that Bank of America turn over customer data. 

But Wray appeared to be more at ease answering the inquiries of friendly Democrats on the committee, according to MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider and other people with functioning ears.

Schneider said, “Christopher Wray’s lopsided ability to answer questions suggests two things. One possibility is that he's prone to fibbing when republicans ask him questions to conceal his abuses.  Alternatively, his priorities simply align with democrats, making him far more knowledgeable about the kinds of issues they care about. Unfortunately, I think the evidence shows that both are true.” 

A number of Democrats, including Rep. Steve Cohen (TN), used their time to launch attacks on Republican lines of inquiry or former President Donald Trump. Director Wray had little trouble answering their questions. 

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) clearly noticed the difference after Wray failed to answer three questions on FBI employees or assets among the crowds on January 6th. Issa was understandably exasperated after Wray responded by kicking the can down the road several times, eventually saying, “again, I just can’t speak to that here.”  Issa said, “Look it's been two years and you now come before us, the gentlemen [Rep. Cohen] 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 [individuals working for the FBI] and you won’t answer that.” 

Gaetz had also noticed that Wray was short on answers about FBI scandals, sarcastically calling the FBI Director “blissfully ignorant,” after dealing with obstruction from Wray. 

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