FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify for first time since Capitol riot
FBI Director Christopher Wray, one of the most high-profile Trump-era officials to be asked to stay under President Biden, will appear before the Senate Tuesday for his first public testimony since the Capitol riot.
Wray will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee starting at 10 a.m. EST, where he is expected to face questions from both sides of the aisle on the Jan. 6 siege and the bureau’s efforts to combat domestic extremism.
In a letter to the FBI director last week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked what Wray and top brass were doing to counter domestic terrorism.
The letter, released by Durbin along with a statement late last month, offered a preview of how Democrats planned to approach Tuesday’s hearing.
Durbin said that along with the letter, he spoke to Wray by phone. During the call, “I raised my concerns about whether the FBI is allocating resources in a manner that reflects the scale of this threat.”
“Unfortunately, the FBI appears to have taken steps in recent years that minimize the threat of white supremacist and far-right violence,” he also noted.
Lawmakers are currently in the midst of weeks of hearings into the Capitol siege.
Last week, Congress heard from the acting Capitol Police chief and the acting House Sergeant-at-Arms, as well as their predecessors who resigned in the wake of the riot.
During the acting officials’ testimony, acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman revealed that intelligence agencies have uncovered threats from far-right extremists to “blow up” the US Capitol when President Biden delivers his first joint address to both houses of Congress.
“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union,” Pittman said, noting that the date for the address had not yet been set.
Wray is almost certain to face questions on how severe of a threat the State of the Union is as lawmakers work to set a date for the event.
The FBI chief will also likely be asked about the security around the Capitol complex nearly two months after the siege.
Fencing, along with thousands of National Guard troops, have been posted at the scene of the siege since it took place.
Last month, Capitol Police requested that 4,900 troops remain in the nation’s capitol until at least March 12, which would cover a new notable date in terms of extremist threats.
That request, which was approved, was made amid concerns that followers of the QAnon conspiracy believed — and would act on — the theory that former President Trump would actually take the oath of office on March 4.
March 4 was the original Inauguration Day before the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1932.