The Latest: Sanders says no discrepancy between Trump, Wray

The Latest: Sanders says no discrepancy between Trump, Wray

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on FBI Director Christopher Wray's testimony to Congress (all times local):

2:25 p.m.

The White House is denying there's conflict between President Donald Trump and FBI Director Chris Wray after Wray rejected Trump's charge that his agency's reputation is "in tatters."

Wray testified Thursday on Capitol Hill that "our reputation is quite good," after being pressed on Trump's weekend tweets. Trump wrote Sunday that the FBI's reputation was the "worst in History!"

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says the White House doesn't believe there is a discrepancy between their comments.

She says: "We agree with Chris Wray that FBI field agents are appreciated and respected."

Sanders also says Trump's issues were with "the political leaders" in the FBI under former FBI Director Jim Comey. She singled out "those who played politics with the Hillary Clinton email probe."

Trump fired Comey in May.


12:45 p.m.

FBI director Christopher Wray says that identifying hacking targets can be "harder than you might think."

Wray was responding to a question from California Democrat Zoe Lofgren about an Associated Press report that the bureau failed to warn hundreds of Americans that their Gmail accounts were being targeted. They were targeted by the Russian hacking group known as Fancy Bear.

Wray did not go into detail but said the agency needs to weigh whether sharing the information actually protects someone or whether it would potentially compromise an existing investigation.

Wray testified Thursday that another important consideration is, "Can we identify the victim?" which he says that "in a lot of cases is harder than you might think."


11:45 a.m.

FBI Director Christopher Wray says Congress shouldn't require agents to get a search warrant in certain cases when they query a database of foreign intelligence.

A key program that authorizes the United States to conduct surveillance of foreigners abroad is expiring at year's end. The program helps prevent terrorist attacks, but Americans' communications also are swept up in the process.

A House bill would require FBI agents to get a warrant if they want to review Americans' communications in domestic criminal investigations cases unrelated to national security.

Wray tells the House Judiciary Committee that the FBI's current querying of information collected under the program is lawful and constitutional.


11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the FBI's reputation is in "tatters." But agency director Christopher Wray says, "My experience has been that our reputation is quite good."

Wray is defending the nation's top law enforcement agency against Trump's attacks. He's testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, where Democrats and Republicans are pushing him to respond to the president's criticism.

Wray said FBI employees "are big boys and girls."

He says, "We understand that we will take criticism from all corners, and we are accustomed to that." He says the agency he's led for just four months has the respect of its partners in state and local law enforcement, in the intelligence community, and in the communities it serves.


10:50 p.m.

FBI Director Chris Wray says President Donald Trump has never gone outside the chain of command to communicate with him directly, and has never asked him to pledge his loyalty to him.

Wray also says Trump has not spoken to him about special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Former FBI Director James Comey has said that Trump asked him for his loyalty and spoke to him one-on-one multiple times.

Comey has said that during one of those private conversations, Trump told him he hoped he'd consider ending an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty Friday to lying to the FBI about his contacts with a Russian diplomat.


10:45 a.m.

FBI Director Christopher Wray is giving an impassioned defense of his agency against blistering attacks from President Donald Trump.

During a Thursday hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Wray was asked to respond to Trump's weekend tweets calling the FBI a biased institution whose reputation is in "tatters."

Wray says, "The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of brave men and women working as hard as they can to keep people they will never know safe from harm."

He says the bureau's agents and analysts are "decent people committed to the highest principals of integrity and professionalism and respect." And he says the agency is respected by its law enforcement partners.

It is Wray's strongest defense yet of the agency he has led for four months.


10:35 a.m.

FBI Director Chris Wray is defending his law enforcement agency amid persistent criticism from President Donald Trump.

Wray testified Thursday that "there is no finer institution than the FBI, and no finer people than the men and women who work there and are its very beating heart."

Wray spoke during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.

The comments come days after Trump took to Twitter to slam the FBI as a biased institution whose reputation is in "tatters."


10:30 a.m.

A Republican lawmaker is worried about what he calls political bias in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Republican congressman Bob Goodlatte (GUD'-lat) of Virginia chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte is responding to revelations that an FBI agent was removed from Mueller's team because of anti-Trump texts.

At a Thursday hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Goodlatte says, "It is absolutely unacceptable for FBI employees to permit their own political predilections to contaminate any investigation."

He says even the appearance of impropriety will "devastate the FBI's reputation."

President Donald Trump recently criticized the FBI on Twitter as a biased institution whose reputation is in "tatters."


3:42 a.m.

Christopher Wray faces a tough test four months into his leadership of the FBI: He must defend America's top law enforcement agency against blistering attacks from President Donald Trump without putting his own job at risk.

The competing pressures Wray faces will be on display Thursday when he testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats may push him to respond forcefully to Trump's weekend tweets calling the FBI a biased agency whose reputation is "in Tatters — worst in History!" and urging Wray to "clean house."

Some Republicans will likely echo Trump's concerns about what they see as political bias in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible coordination between Trump's campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election. Like Trump, they have seized on revelations that an FBI agent was removed from Mueller's team because of anti-Trump text messages.

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