FBI Director Wray is acting like Biden’s consigliere
Posted For: MugsMalone
by Quin Hillyer
Another day, another high-handed, leftist-protecting, corruption-enabling action by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
On May 10, Wray refused to comply with a subpoena issued to him directly by the House Oversight Committee, requiring him to produce “an unclassified FC-1023 form that describes an alleged criminal scheme involving then-Vice President Joe Biden and a foreign national relating to the exchange of money for policy decisions. It has been alleged that the document includes a precise description of how the alleged criminal scheme was employed as well as its purpose.”
By itself, Wray’s refusal to comply immediately isn’t terribly unusual. The Justice Department and FBI not infrequently push back, sometimes justifiably so, against congressional demands, all as part of a not-unhealthy tension between executive and legislative branches about the proper limits of each branch’s authority.
Wray, though, has made a habit of being outrageously obfuscatory and uncooperative, not to mention notoriously unwilling to root out corruption in the vast bureau he oversees. More than a year ago, for example, it came to light that a 2019 internal audit found that FBI agents broke the rules at least 747 times in just 18 months, and in “high-profile” investigations alone. Wray has yet to make public amends, much less show any energy in fixing the problem.
Meanwhile, almost every time Wray errs, it seems, he errs in ways that favor or protect political leftward interests while giving the brush-off to even the most objectively reasonable concerns of the political Right. And when questioned by conservatives on serious matters, he responds with an arrogant smirk and contemptuous evasiveness. In a cover letter both to Wray and to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY) specifically expressed a “growing concern about the DOJ and the FBI’s track record of allowing political bias to infect their decision-making process, necessitate exacting congressional oversight.”
In that light, Wray’s latest stiff-arming of congressional Republicans looks particularly galling. The substance of the FBI reply letter wasn’t significantly off base, but the tone certainly was. In five pages of exhaustive, almost overwrought explanation, it lectured the two lawmakers about why “Confidential Human Source Reporting” must remain confidential, and why therefore, except at the margins, Congress essentially should buzz off. Oh, of course it ended with a brief pledge to “accommodate your request,” but only within the extremely narrow parameters left available after the four pages of saying “no, no, no.”
The brush-off was excessive.
“This [the Comer-Grassley inquiry] is a legitimate legislative investigation of the head of the executive branch based on colorable suspicions, supported by a lot of other evidence,” said Andrew McCarthy, the famed former federal prosecutor of terrorists. “Under those circumstances, it is not persuasive for an executive branch agency to be prattling on about executive branch priorities.” McCarthy said the FBI’s “interests that they lay out in the letter are valid” but that there should be more ground for “consultation and compromise” than the tone of the letter indicated.
Here, though, is what gives away Wray’s stupendously arrogant disrespect for elected members of a co-equal branch of government, one of whom chairs a committee with explicit executive branch oversight powers: Wray did not give the lawmakers the courtesy of direct reply. Instead, in what by protocol is a flagrant insult, the FBI reply letter came from Christopher Dunham, the “Acting Assistant Director, Office of Congressional Affairs.”
A subpoena from the Oversight Committee chairman should be answered by the recipient of the subpoena or, if the recipient himself is a target of the inquiry, which Wray is not, then perhaps by his lawyer. To push the reply down three levels on the totem pole, especially a reply whose tone is so haughty, is unacceptable. It’s like, oh, perhaps if a state legislative committee chairman requested important information from a city mayor and the mayor had an assistant deputy police chief send a missive effectively saying to go suck eggs.
This was not a letter offering reasonable accommodation; it was a declaration that Wray sees himself as unaccountable not just to Congress but to the American public Congress was elected to represent. Somehow, in some way, Wray must be reminded that he is far from untouchable.