Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, did not respond to investigations on Wednesday regarding an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home this week, but he spoke against “deplorable” threats against law enforcement in his first remarks to the public following the Florida search.
During a visit to the FBI’s field office in Omaha, Nebraska, reporters asked Wray about the Monday raid, which is said to be connected to an inquiry into whether Trump took confidential materials from the White House after he left office.
Trump said that agents may have collected evidence, while Republicans in Congress have demanded that Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland speak out or risk losing their jobs.
Wray was asked to comment on Trump’s suggestion, but he chose not to engage. “As I’m sure you can appreciate, that’s not something I can talk about,” he said. Wray then referred the query to the Justice Department. Up to this point, neither the DOJ nor the FBI has publicly commented on the raid.
GOP lawmakers demanding an explanation and raising concerns that the bureau’s silence may harm public confidence are unlikely to be assuaged by Wray’s refusal to speak on the company’s behalf.
“If Attorney General Merrick Garland and FBI Director Christopher Wray do not make public statements today explaining to the American people exactly what they did at Mar-a-Lago and why, they will have lost what little public trust they may have had and no longer deserve to remain in office,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said in a statement.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was less patient, tweeting: “At a minimum, Garland must resign or be impeached. The search warrant must be published. Christoper Wray must be removed. And the FBI reformed top to bottom.”
Wray did speak to another facet of the question brought by the reporter, who noted there have been calls to arms and threats against his agents. “Any threats made against law enforcement, including the men and women of the FBI, as with any law enforcement agency, are deplorable and dangerous,” he said.
Also posed to Wray was the prospect that the raid could embolden “some of the same bad actors” from Jan. 6. “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter what anybody’s upset about or who they are upset with,” he said in response.