FBI Director Wray to testify on Capitol riot
McEnany recalls day of Capitol riot: ‘Everyone was expecting peace’
Former press secretary condemns Jan. 6 violence in first interview since leaving the White House
FBI Director Chris Wray is set to deliver his first testimony since the Jan. 6 Capitol riot during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday.
Lawmakers will likely press him on whether the bureau adequately communicated with other law enforcement agencies about the potential for violence that day.
The Justice Department has so far charged more than 300 individuals in connection to the event, and Wray will also likely face questions regarding the ongoing FBI investigations related to the riot, as well as how the bureau is confronting national security threats from domestic violent extremists.
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Chairman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and other Democratic committee members, raised concerns in a letter to Wray ahead of the hearing over whether the FBI is “allocating law enforcement and intelligence resources in a manner that reflects the scale of the threat posed by violent White supremacists.”
The senators cited “bipartisan” intelligence reports indicating that although attacks over the past few years involved domestic violent extremists “across the political spectrum,” FBI and Homeland Security assessed that violent White supremacists represent the “most significant domestic terrorism threat.”
“I think domestic terrorism, religious and racial-based hate groups have become a major threat in America,” Durbin told reporters on Capitol Hill on Monday. “I want to know if our intelligence operations have taken this into consideration in establishing their priorities.”
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Several members of the right-wing militia Oath Keepers, as well as the Proud Boys, have been indicted in connection to the Jan. 6 attack, the letter said. The chairman also told reporters Monday that he has questions for Wray regarding intelligence leading up to the insurrection, NPR reported.
“What did he know? When did he know it? And who did he tell?” Durbin said. “Those are questions which have been raised in other hearings, but he is the man of the hour.”
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The FBI Norfolk Field Office sent a memo to U.S. Capitol Police on Jan. 5 suggesting that a coordinated attack was planned on Jan. 6 and that Congress was the target. The memo was first made public by The Washington Post on Jan. 12, but Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified last week that he did not learn about it until weeks later — as recently as the day before he addressed Congress. Capitol police also produced its own intelligence memo indicating a similar coordinated attack on Congress as early as Jan. 3.
Wray is also expected to be pressed on how the FBI is investigating future threats after U.S. Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman testified before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch last week that militia groups present on Jan. 6 have states desires to “blow up” the Capitol in order to “kill as many members as possible” when President Biden addresses Congress.
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Wray may also face questions about the FBI’s investigation into the massive Russian hack of corporations and U.S. government agencies, which happened when elite hackers injected malicious code into a software update.
Last week, Sund, former Senate Sergeant of Arms Michael Stenger, former House Sergeant of Arms Paul Irving and Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee testified before a joint Senate Rules and Homeland Security Committee hearing.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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