FBI Director Christopher A. Wray on Thursday stonewalled questions about whether the bureau was investigating former President Donald Trump, his aides or members of Congress for their role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Wray was asked twice if the FBI had opened an investigation of Mr. Trump and whether he incited the riot.
“I’m not aware of any investigation that specifically goes to that, but we have hundreds and hundreds of investigations related to Jan. 6 involving lots and lots of different pieces of it and I want to be careful,” he said at first.
Later, when pressed on whether Mr. Trump or other Republican lawmakers were under investigation, Mr. Wray said he could not confirm or deny an FBI investigation.
Mr. Wray also remained mum when committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, New York Democrat, accused Mr. Trump and his allies of “whipping his supporters into a frenzy for weeks.”
Democrats blasted Mr. Wray and the FBI for what they described as “an intelligence failure” to warn of the impending riot on Jan. 6.
“Did the FBI simply miss the evidence or did it see the evidence and fail to piece it together,” Mr. Nadler asked.
A report from the FBI‘s Norfolk, Virginia, office conveyed threats made online against members of Congress the day before a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, but the bureau missed other warning signs. The FBI did not widely distribute the Norfolk report, the Democrats said, questioning its intelligence-sharing protocols.
Mr. Wray said the information gathered by the Norfolk office was raw and unverified information that had not been analyzed or corroborated.
He also insisted that he shared the warning with law enforcement agencies, including the Capitol Police, through established channels.
“We tried to make sure that we got that information to the right people,” Mr. Wray said, adding that most of the arrested in the Capitol attack were not previously under investigation.
Republicans, meanwhile, criticized Mr. Wray for the FBI‘s raid on the New York home and law offices of Rudolph W. Giuliani, who was once one of Mr. Trump‘s personal lawyers.
They said the raid was unnecessary because Mr. Giuliani was willing to cooperate with the probe and had offered to answer questions.
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and the committee‘s ranking member, described the raid as excessive.
“You kicked in his door instead,” Mr. Jordan said.