White House press secretary Jen Psaki Wednesday dodged questions about whether President Biden has confidence in his FBI director amid emotional Capitol Hill testimony from Olympic gymnasts about how the bureau bungled the investigation into convicted child molester Larry Nassar.
When asked if Mr. Biden still has confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray, Ms. Psaki demurred, citing that he was testifying on Capitol Hill alongside the abused gymnasts.
“Obviously, the FBI director was also testifying today and spoke to his views of what went wrong here, so I point you to that,” Ms. Psaki said.
The lack of firm support for Mr. Wray is a departure from the White House’s previous stance. Ms. Psaki said in July the president “has confidence” in the FBI director even as blunders continued to mount for the embattles bureau.
The four female gymnasts on Wednesday torched the FBI for its inaction and mishandling of the case. Agents later made false statements to cover for the fallout from the botched investigation.
“What is the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents are going to take it upon themselves to bury that report in a drawer?” McKayla Maroney said in testimony before Congress Wednesday.
“They allowed a child molester to go free for more than a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar‘s abuse to continue,” she added, recounting how she detailed to agents the abuse she suffered at Nassar‘s hands.
Ms. Psaki called the gymnasts’ testimony “incredibly powerful” and referred to Nassar as “a monstrous human being.”
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he had sexually abused them.
The Justice Department inspector general concluded in a report that the FBI failed to launch a proper investigation, resulting in the firing of one agent earlier this summer. A supervisor who was dinged in the inspector general report for violating FBI protocol retired in 2018.