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5 questions FBI Director Wray must answer when pressed by the House Judiciary Committee

FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to confront angry lawmakers on the Capitol on Wednesday about how the agency’s top officials are handling the Hunter Biden probe, targeting Catholic parishes, and accusing Trump of collusion with Russia. It will demand answers to burning questions about whether you ignored the protocol in your zeal to figure it out.

And there are questions about the FBI’s involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots.

Those are just the top of a long list of Republican questions for Mr. Wray before the House Judiciary Committee. At the hearing, Wray will face some of the toughest critics who say the FBI is being weaponized against Trump and the Republican Party.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia introduced an impeachment article against Mr. Wray in May. The resolution was co-sponsored by Rep. Barry Moore of Alabama and Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who are Republicans on the Judiciary Committee like Green.

The committee’s chairman, Jim Jordan, has issued a flurry of subpoenas seeking information from Wray, Trump’s nominee in 2017.

The hearing comes after the FBI refused to share documents detailing unconfirmed allegations that President Biden received $5 million in bribes during his time as vice president in the Obama administration. It also comes after a bitter confrontation with chairman James Comer of . From a Ukrainian businessman. Mr. Comer threatened to insult Mr. Wray, but withdrew the vote after the FBI agreed to grant committee members access to the documents.

Wray’s response on Wednesday may hinge on whether he can defuse tensions with Congress as calls for his ouster gain momentum among Republicans.

The topics Ray covers are wide-ranging. Here are some big questions for him.

Why did the FBI block access to Biden’s bribery documents?

The FBI has spent months resisting efforts by House Republicans to access bureau documents detailing allegations of Mr. Biden accepting bribes. The document, known as FD-1023, already caught the attention of the FBI in 2017, but only recently became public.

A source told the FBI that Biden received $5 million from executives at Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings. The same executive paid another $5 million to Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, according to lawmakers who viewed FD-1023.

According to Kentucky Republican Comer, the documents contained information provided to the FBI by a secret human source described as “a reliable and very credible informant that the FBI has used for many years.” detailed.

Initially, the FBI claimed the document did not exist. Later, Mr. Ray finally acknowledged the document’s existence and said he would allow lawmakers to review an edited version of it at Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters. Republicans were outraged after Mr. Wray refused to respond to a subpoena for the full text of the document.

Ultimately, Mr. Ray relented and agreed to make the document referenced in FD-1023 and two additional materials available to all members of the committee.

Wray will face questions about why the FBI fought so hard to cover up the documents and how investigators took the bribery allegations seriously.

Did the FBI influence Hunter Biden’s tax investigation?

IRS supervisor Gary Shapley, who helped investigate Hunter Biden’s tax evasion investigation, told lawmakers in May that the FBI tried to sabotage the investigation by barring the team from speaking to witnesses. rice field.

In testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee, Shapley said his team wanted to interview at least 15 witnesses in September 2020, but the bureau limited the number of witnesses to five. .

Shapley also said that the FBI agent in charge of the case had recently moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and that “his and his “I was worried about the impact it would have on my family,” he said. .

He claims the FBI “knocked on” Hunter Biden in December 2020 in advance of planned interviews with him. Shapley said the FBI notified the Secret Service and Biden’s transition team, which includes people close to Biden and Hunter Biden, on the eve of the “day of action,” giving them an opportunity to “block access.” Stated.

Mr Shapley says: After the FBI notified the Secret Service and the transition team, Hunter Biden’s lawyers declined to interview him.

Rep. Jason Smith, a Missouri Republican, said Shapley’s testimony “outlines misconduct and government abuse” by the FBI and other agencies.

Hunter Biden signed a plea bargain with the Justice Department last month that will likely spare him a prison sentence.

Lawmakers will ask Mr. Wray to explain why the FBI limited the number of witnesses and whether investigators had conflicts of interest. They would also want to know if Attorney General Merrick Garland took steps to thwart the investigation or to stop the pursuit of clues.

What was done to purge the FBI following John Durham’s scathing report?

Wray said the FBI leadership was zealous about pursuing Trump-Russia collusion in 2016, fostering “seriously flawed information” and abandoning “its own principles of objectivity and integrity.” Expect heated questions about Special Counsel John Durham’s report, which concluded that

Durham said in his report that the FBI’s actions were “seriously flawed” and caused “significant reputational damage.”

Durham testified at the same panel last month about how FBI rank-and-file employees apologized to him and told senior FBI officials that the Hillary Clinton campaign was behind allegations of Trump complicity. He elaborated on how he became emotional when he found out what the department was hiding. with Russia.

“Here, investigative activities have or have not taken place that raise concerns about whether the law is being complied with. [or] The policy set by the FBI was followed,” Durham said.

Mr. Ray should be ready to tell the commission what steps have been taken to prevent such a blunder from happening again and whether any of the people involved are still working for the agency. .

Why did the FBI target the Catholic Church?

Documents released by the House Judiciary Committee in April revealed that the FI sought to tap into sources within Catholic dioceses across the country as part of its domestic terrorism crackdown.

It was revealed that the FBI wanted to use “major Catholic parishes” as “tripwires and new avenues for source development.”

Ohio Republican Jordan said targeting Catholics was “outrageous” and issued a series of subpoenas seeking relevant documents.

Mr. Ray, who had already spoken about the report, told the Senate committee that he was “appalled” when he learned the FBI was targeting the Catholic Church.

“We have taken immediate steps to retract this document and remove it from the FBI system. It does not reflect FBI standards,” he told the Senate Intelligence Committee in March. “We do not conduct investigations based on religious affiliation or practice. I instructed them to consider ways to prevent it.”

Yet House Republicans have yet to get a chance to pursue Mr. Wray about the memo, or why the FBI targeted the Catholic Church in the first place.

Some Republicans argue that targeting churches is a double standard because the FBI does not allocate the same resources to go after activists who firebombed churches and anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. there is

Garland told lawmakers in March that he had sent the FBI to hunt down those who attacked a pregnancy center during the anti-abortion crisis, but said the FBI was being hampered by “smart” criminals working at night. Told.

He said prosecutors will seek charges against violent choice activists, but the FBI cannot find them.

Did FBI agents participate in the Jan. 6 riots?

The FBI has repeatedly dodged questions about whether investigators and confidential informants were involved in the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riots. The big question now is whether Ray will do the same.

FBI officials last year questioned whether the agency was involved in the attack and whether it sent a former Marine accused of being an FBI agent to try to foment a pro-Trump mob insurgency and prevent congressional criminalization. refused to confirm or deny. Biden wins the 2020 election.

Senator Ted Cruz has approached FBI Chief of Staff Jill Sanborn about unproven allegations that federal agents encouraged protesters to break the law.

When Texas Republicans asked many agents and informants who “actively participated” in the riots, Sanborn said they could discuss “details of sources and methods.”

Mr. Cruz then asked extensive questions about whether FBI agents and informants actively participated in the riots, to which Mr. Sanborn replied, “I cannot answer that, sir.”

He brought up the story of Ray Epps, who claims to have been an ex-Marine, some FBI agent, who said to the crowd the day before the riot, “Tomorrow we need to storm the Capitol!”

Sanborn refused to speak. “I can’t answer that question,” she repeated.

Mr. Cruz continued to question Mr. Epps about his actions, but Mr. Sanborn continued to refuse, saying he could not answer.

Wray will have a chance to answer that question when he meets lawmakers on Wednesday. 5 questions FBI Director Wray must answer when pressed by the House Judiciary Committee

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