WASHINGTON — Dec 7, 2017, 2:38 PM ET

The Latest: Sanders says no discrepancy between Trump, Wray

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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.

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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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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."

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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.

News - The Latest: Sanders says no discrepancy between Trump, Wray

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  • Rodney Bayburn

    Wel, I guess we know what the GOP stands for: raid the treasury and give the spoils to billionaires, and accept nazi and child molester votes in order to get there.

  • ProfPalefuddy

    The GOP Senators and Congress have become tools for President Trump's tactic of degrading the Judges hearing cases or in this case the FBI which is building a case against him, his family, his friends and Putin the Perfect. Trump has used this tactic all his life. When the GOP and Fox News Joins in it is dangerous for our Democracy. Shame on them, shame on them all.

  • David

    I thought the highlight of the dog and pony show was when that Republican Congressman from Texas asked the FBI director why the FBI wasn't investigating the Clinton administration.

  • Lee Thompson

    Do I believe Trump or think he's justified in criticizing the FBI . . . absolutely not!
    I stand with the good, professional personnel of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation. True Americans who believe in our constitution and justice.

  • Ideology

    The political justice system possesses some of the finest, hard working Americans I know. Working hard to undue what the voters did in November.

  • Betty Bloop

    most interesting was farenthold's comment that there weren't any investigations of the 'clinton administration' -- these guys are really going off the rails.

  • my2cents314

    Why does anyone believe what the Dotard president has to say??? Just because he says that the FBI is in tatters, doesn't make it so. Look at the bigger picture. The so-called president wants to discredit the FBI so that he can fire Mueller and/or to discredit Mueller's findings. Don't fall for it. Trump is using the same tactics as dictators.

  • Fred Mertz Pants

    How does she juggle so many lies, fibs and general mis-directs all at the same time?

  • Former Earthling

    Trumps wants to be a dictator and GOP is letting him do it. He must be removed.

  • Munk

    Think about this: The testimony is that there is hardly any difference between "grossly negligent" and "extremely careless." Then, why was the wording secretly changed??? Why?, because "grossly negligent" is a statutory violation. "Extremely careless" are weaseling words which would allow Hillary to wriggle away from criminal liability. On the other hand, Mr. Wray did say they have established independent investigators to look into the matter.

  • Ideology

    Draining the swamp has exposed a lot of slime including the FBI, just as Trump promised.

  • unusual

    It's the reputation of the White House that's in tatters, thanks to Trump and his team of lying sycophants. On both a national and worldwide basis, the FBI is respected - Trump is a laughing stock.

  • RobertJohns

    Although Trump's rants against the FBI are his usual over-the-top nonsense, the agency hasn't done very well at maintaining a high level of integrity.

  • TheoreticallyScottCA

    A huge waste of tax payer money. This is nothing more than The GOP trying to deflect from their crimes and the crimes of Trump.
    The GOP is Evil and traitorous.

  • Raider

    I can't imagine the outrage if President Obama would have said half the things Trump has said about the FBI. How does the GOP and the "conservatives" justify their silence.

  • Prophet With Honor

    A waste of valuable time.

  • General Incompetence

    ah, the new talking point deflection from Trumpsters: "but Al Franken" (of course Al as the blz to do what Roy Moore and Trump fail to do. Admit wrong doing and step aside).

  • caliento

    History will show as Flake has said "country over party" who..... &, there are so many, Repub's who place power in support of Trump over country & family values. Nunes, Gowdy, Cotton, King of N.Y., Cruz, R. Paul, House speaker Paul Ryan , McConnell, etc.. Shame on all them who support an accused pedphile, & an accused sexual predator "president" Trump who lies on a daily basis

  • Greg Finley

    After the Hiilary email debacle and all the lies she said to the FBI and they did nothing . I think the president is right.

  • Ideology

    Can you imagine if they forced every US citizen to send $10 to Mueller's team to fund this investigation and pay for his dream team of Government lawyers. There would be a riot. That is exactly what they are doing.

  • Diana Vickery

    Millions and millions spent so far..What must not recall the arrest of agent Connolly..who was on a mobsters payroll and then convicted of murder. Someone later had a federal judge overturn the conviction. Thank GOD an appeals court reinstated it..This is "honest" feds attempt to cover each other .Now according to my city Fulton,N.Y . When Trump "goes down sometime this spring" the feds will then move in on me..His son BARON is clued target off a story I write based on only facts. It links back to two FBI " "friendly fire" shootings. One on my father's birthday in 07 and the badge number links to my son's birthday. I say with the Syracuse FBI in 2008 very run down and very confused about a young girls death..that I know was no accident. The make behind the wall spoke deliberately for me to know that the something about my father's birthday and a date..that I later researched. Was in his words a "something went on there too" direction they had then...It links to the real reason Oswego Police Chief Lundy was fired in 2006.

  • Lee Thompson

    Trump is the entity who can't be trusted, right alongside him are his cabinet and staff . . . they all lie. And to try to defend himself, Trump attacks the agents within the FBI. Well, we aren't swallowing it. The more you wriggle, Trump, the more guilty you appear.