FBI boss Wray says Russia engaging in 'malign influence operations,' calls Mueller a 'straight shooter'
FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday defended Special Counsel Robert Mueller as a “straight shooter,” and said the Russia investigation is no “witch hunt.”
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Wray said he stood by his view that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in some capacity and that the threat remained active.
“My view has not changed... Russia attempted to interfere with the last election and it continues to engage in malign influence operations to this day.”
He said the Kremlin's intentions then, and now, have been “aimed at sowing discord and divisiveness.”
Wray continued, “We haven’t yet seen an effort to target specific election infrastructure this time, but certainly other efforts I would call malign influence operations are very active. We could just be a moment away from it going to the next level.”
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Wray spoke about other potential cybersecurity threats but noted that “Russia has been by far the most aggressive.”
The FBI boss said Russian intelligence is actively participating in these tactics through both overt and covert means, sometimes using “fake news,” other times using “propaganda.”
When asked about whether the indictment filed last week against 12 Russian intelligence agents was proof of this, Wray said, “I’m going to let the indictment speak for itself.”
Wray also spoke about ongoing Mueller investigation and claims from the White House that it has no basis to continue.
“I do not believe Special Counsel Mueller is on a witch hunt. I think it is a professional investigation conducted by a man I’ve know to be a straight shooter.” He declined to comment further, citing confidentiality concerns.
Wray also spoke to the inspector general’s report on the DOJ and FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe, saying it was “tough” but “fair,” adding that FBI learned some “important lessons” and was working actively to implement the necessary changes.
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He did, however, say it was important to note the context of the report and that it was focused on a very small number of people at the FBI, for one investigation over a period of about 15 months.
When talking about disgraced FBI Agent Peter Strzok and his anti-Trump texts with colleague and lover Lisa Page, Wray said he planned to let the “disciplinary process” take its course without delay and that he would not respond to “hue and cry.”
“I’m not going to make decisions based on yelling and screaming, I’m going to make decisions based on the process.”
When asked about his relationship with Trump, Wray said it was “very professional.”
“I don’t try to weigh in on all of his opinions... I’m not much of a Twitter guy.”
When asked if he ever considered resigning over revealing sources and methods, Wray said that despite being a “low key guy,” people should not mistake “what my spine is made of.”
“I’ll just leave it at that,” he finished.
Fox News Catherine Herridge in Aspen contributed to this report.