Federal Bureau of Investigation chief Wray rejects Trump criticism

US President Donald Trump applauds during a rally for Sen. Luther Strange at the Von Braun Civic Center

CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday took on Donald Trump's attack on the FBI after director Christopher Wray testified before the House Judicial Committee, fielding pointed questions from Republicans about the independence of the Bureau.

Wray was pressed on Trump's tweet during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

Wray became the director four months ago after Comey was sacked by Trump, and the new director has tried to keep a low profile and steer the agency clear of the public fights surrounding Trump, Clinton and Comey.

"After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters - worst in History!"

"And we are accustomed to that", he said, adding, "My experience has been that our reputation is quite good".

Republicans at Thursday's hearing renewed their demands for a second special counsel to be appointed to investigate Clinton and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particularly in light of new information that a senior agent on the Clinton case allegedly exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton messages with another senior Federal Bureau of Investigation official during the presidential campaign.

The investigator, Peter Strzok, had a prominent role in the FBI's Clinton investigation.

Wray also faced questions about potential legal trouble for Trump personally arising from Mueller's investigation. A few months later, as Comey looked into possible collusion between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign to swing the USA presidential election, the president fired Comey.

According to reports, he also had a major role in Comey's decision in July 2016 - in the middle of a tense election campaign - to clear Clinton of any crime related to her email use.

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, among others, specifically mentioned the fact that Strzok had a hand in adjusting former FBI Director James Comey's statement last summer about Hillary Clinton's email server. Trump tweeted Sunday morning, December 3.

He said Wray could easily disprove his allegation by releasing the FISA application to Congress. Wray said he could not legally release the information and that an inspector general is looking into the matter.

"We now know that people who hate President Trump were assigned to investigate him", Gaetz said.

In Thursday's hearing, Republicans alleged that Muller, after taking on the Russian Federation probe in May, assembled a team of largely Democratic lawyers and investigators.

"If you kicked everybody off of Mueller's team who was anti-Trump, I don't think there'd be anybody left", said Jordan, alleging there is "more" behind Strzok's departure from Mueller's team.

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