FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a contentious House committee hearing on Wednesday that it is “somewhat insane” for anyone to suggest that he harbors a bias against conservatives.
“Well, first off, I would disagree with your characterization of the FBI and certainly your description of my own approach,” Wray said in response to a grilling from Wyoming Republican Rep. Harriet Hageman over accusations that the FBI has become “weaponized” against conservatives.
“The idea that I’m biased against conservatives seems somewhat insane to me, given my own personal background,” Wray, a registered Republican, added.
Hageman referenced in her line of questioning the Twitter files, Missouri v. Biden disclosures, the Durham investigation and the “exposure and collapse” of the “Russian collusion hoax” as examples of why the American people distrust the FBI.
“The American people fully understand that there is a two tiered justice system that has been weaponized to persecute people based on their beliefs and that you have personally worked to weaponize the FBI against conservatives,” Hageman told Wray.
“Neither you nor the FBI have any legal authority to circumvent the First Amendment by using a surrogate to do your dirty work,” Hageman said, referring to the Missouri court ruling against the Biden administration, which was accused of strong-arming social media companies to push its desired coronavirus agenda. “Yet that is exactly what you’ve been doing.”
Wray told Hageman that he has not taken part in any weekly meetings with social media companies and was unsure if they took place but if they did they would be on hold due to the injunction.
“Does the FBI intend to continue to have such meetings leading up to the 2024 election to police election-related speech?” The Wyoming Republican asked.
“Well we’re not going to be policing,” Wray began to say before Hageman interjected.
“That’s what you previously did,” Hageman said.
“That’s not, I do not agree with that description,” Wray responded.
Wray told Hageman that he does not believe that the Biden administration violated the First Amendment rights of Americans by working with social media companies.
“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?” Hageman asked.
“I can’t help what people believe or not,” Wray answered. “I can only speak to what the facts are.”
Hageman asked Wray if any disciplinary action has been taken against any FBI employees as a result of the court ruling, but he declined to speak about “personnel matters” and said, “We have not made any such determination at this stage.”
Wray insisted that he is committed to establishing procedures and safeguards to ensure that the agency is doing the “right thing in the right way.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital following the exchange, Hagemen slammed Wray for ignoring bias in the FBI.
“What is insane is the Director denying bias in his organization after repeated factual examples demonstrated by the Missouri v. Biden decision, Twitter Files, and multiple whistleblowers,” Hageman said.
“If Christopher Wray wanted to do things the ‘right way’, he’d start by following the Constitution and stop suppressing the rights of American citizens. It was on Director Wray’s watch that the Foreign Influence Task Force, which sounds more like a KGB program than something that should exist in America, was formed. This task force is at the heart of the censorship and suppression of conservative voices today.”
The FBI published a press release on Wednesday as Wray was testifying outlining his position on a wide range of issues including social media censorship.
“The FBI is not in the business of being the ‘truth police’ or telling any social media company to censor an account, and we don’t moderate content,” the press release explained. “
“The FBI is, as a law enforcement and intelligence agency, responsible for working with companies, in a fully lawful way, to protect our communities from child predators and terrorists, as well as hostile foreign countries like China, Russia, and Iran, looking to exploit social media platforms to commit crimes and threaten national security.”