The five minutes rhetorically at bat for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) during the Wednesday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee featuring FBI Director Christopher Wray as a witness went about as you’d expect, meaning right in line with past antagonism that’s been expressed by the Florida Republican.
Asking Wray about what sounded like past messages ostensibly sent by a member of the Biden family (presumably Hunter), Gaetz accused Wray of a potentially suspicious lack of curiosity about the matter. It is actually right in line with precedent for law enforcement officials to not comment in public venues like this Congressional testimony about individual matters. The range of issues that’s been cited goes from protecting individuals’ reputations to safeguarding any ongoing investigative action so those involved can avoid the possibility of tipping anybody off who might be targeted in the future.
“Absolutely not,” Wray said when asked if he was protecting the Bidens. “The FBI does not — has no interest in protecting anyone politically.” Wray finished his answer even though Gaetz started to essentially shout him down within the first few words.
Gaetz’s subsequent questioning and rhetoric included accusations of, among other things, Wray having been untruthful in past Congressional testimony he provided about the use of systems meant for foreign-oriented surveillance in cases stemming from the January 6 attack on the Capitol.
“Respectfully, Congressman,” Wray cut in after Gaetz started to recap his various complaints. “In your home state of Florida, the number of people applying to come work for us and devote their lives working for us is over — up over 100 percent since I started.” The director’s statements were in refutation of Gaetz’s assertions about plummeting public trust in the agency that Wray, who was nominated by Trump, now leads. Elsewhere in conservative politics, Wray’s job could be on the line, with prominent presidential contender Ron DeSantis having expressed an interest in firing him if he becomes president. Wray might be fine for now, though, because DeSantis remains down significantly in polls from the 2024 Republican primary. Trump continues to lead.
Watch the Wednesday hearing below: