Russia probe is not a ‘witch hunt,’ FBI nominee Wray tells senators

Julia Munslow

FBI nominee Christopher Wray said that he does not view the federal investigation into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign as a “witch hunt.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., fired off a line of questions about special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe and the 2016 emails from Donald Trump Jr. to set up a meeting with a Russian lawyer in hopes of gaining damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Graham asked Wray if the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia was a “witch hunt.”

Wray hedged at first, saying he could not speak to the allegations of Russian ties, but Graham cut him off and asked again for Wray’s comment on the investigation.

“I’m asking you — as the future FBI director — do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt?” Graham said.

“I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt,” Wray said.

President Trump has railed against the investigation several times in the past few months, most recently calling it the “greatest Witch Hunt in political history.”



Graham, who had opened his questioning by asking Wray if he was familiar with Trump Jr.’s “email problems,” pressed the FBI nominee to comment on the messages.

Wray said he was not familiar with their contents, but the senator read through the email exchange for Wray.

“Should Donald Trump Jr. have taken that meeting?” Graham asked.

Wray demurred, claiming he didn’t know enough about the emails to comment.

But Graham fired back again, posing a hypothetical and asking whether he should call the FBI if the Russian government called him and promised damaging knowledge on a political opponent.

The FBI nominee hedged, saying, “I think it would be wise to let the FBI—,” but Graham cut him off.

“You’re going to be director of the FBI, pal,” Graham said. “So here’s what I want you to tell every politician. If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you by disparaging your opponent — tell us all to call the FBI.”

“Any threat to interfere with our elections from any nation-state or any nonstate actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know,” Wray said.

“That’s a great answer,” Graham said, appearing satisfied.

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