FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday he’s seen no evidence of efforts by President Trump or the White House to interfere in the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.
“I can say very confidently that I have not detected any whiff of interference with that investigation,” Wray said during a panel discussion at the Intelligence and National Security Summit in Washington, D.C.
In Christopher Wray's first public appearance since being confirmed as FBI Director in August, he says he's been encouraged by state of FBI pic.twitter.com/pnYNpiGQ2d
— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) September 7, 2017
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been leading an investigation into Russia’s interference in the election, alleged collusion between Moscow and members of the Trump campaign, and possible obstruction of justice. Mueller was appointed after the president fired former FBI Director James Comey last May.
Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8 that he had orchestrated the leak of a memo about a conversation with Trump because he thought it would lead to the appointment of a special prosecutor to lead the Russia investigation.
But Comey wouldn’t say if he thought the president had obstructed justice. “I don’t know,” he told the panel when asked. “That — that’s Bob Mueller’s job to sort that out.”
The FBI has reportedly been providing agents to assist in the investigation.
Wray, who was sworn in as FBI director last month, sought to quiet any questions that Mueller and the team he’s assembled for the Russia probe may not be impartial, and said he has “enormous” respect for Mueller.
“There’s a great group of people working on it and I have confidence in them to be able to do their job,” Wray said.
The FBI director’s comments came in response to questions from Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, according to Politico.
Wray said he stands by comments he made at his confirmation hearing in July that Russia made a significant effort to interfere in last fall’s presidential election.
“Now, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot more fully, highly classified information….I have no reason to doubt the conclusions that the hardworking people who put that together came to,” the FBI director said, referring to an intelligence community assessment produced in both classified and unclassified versions in January.
Wray noted that while Mueller is focused on what happened last year, the FBI is tasked with combating Russian intelligence operations directed at future U.S. elections.
“There’s overlapping mission there. And I’m impressed with the strides that have been made on that front as well,” the FBI director said, adding: “You can’t cover everything all the time. And that’s something I worry about.”
The new FBI chief also reported that agency is working hard on another task of keen interest to Trump: rooting out leakers.
“This is a topic that’s a very high priority for us. It’s something we take very seriously,” Wray said.
Some would argue that much of the problem was solved when Trump fired Comey back in May.