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Katie Bo Williams @KatieBoWill
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Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has gaveled in FBI Director Chris Wray's first House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing.
Up for discussion, per Goodlatte's opening statement: GOP calls for a second special counsel to investigate Clinton investigation; reports that a special agent was removed from Mueller's investigation over some allegedly anti-Trump tweets; Section 702; and mass shootings.
Wray addresses "going dark" problem in his opening statement: Says the FBI in FY2017 was unable to access the content of approximately 7,800 mobile devices using available technical tools "even though there was legal authority to do so."
Wray says the FBI is investigating media leaks as part of the "growing scope of the insider threat," describing it as "leaking classified information, sometimes mixed with disinformation, to manipulate the public and advance a personal agenda."
MS-13 also gets a shout-out. Wray says the bureau has dedicated "tremendous resources" to combat the gang, which the Trump administration has made a centerpiece of its "law and order" agenda.
Wray has been sworn in.
Top committee Dem, Nadler, tells Wray in a Trump-heavy opening statement that "your job requires you to the courage to stand up to the president."
"Chris Wray has impressive hair" is the new "Jim Comey is gigantically tall."
Goodlatte's first question related to reports that Strzok changed Comey draft to "excessively careless" from "grossly negligent."

"I've heard some of the same information you have," Wray said.
Wray says the handling of the Clinton investigation is currently under investigation by DOJ inspector general and it would not be appropriate for him to comment on what the IG might find. Goodlatte allows that's fair, but presses forward with his question.
Goodlatte asks Wray how the FBI is not investigating Cheryl Mills, et al, who he says caused grave national security danger. Wray again defers to the IG investigation.
Goodlatte tries to get Wray to say that the bureau was trying to help Clinton avoid an espionage charge — one standard for which is "gross negligence" not intent. But that statute has only been used once in its 99 years of existence.
Comey on this in July: “That’s just the way it is. I know the Department of Justice. I know no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case.”
Wray says Trump has never asked him to report directly to him, in response to questioning from Nadler. Nadler is now pushing him on obstruction of justice law — does it require specific intent? Wray says he doesn't recall specifics of intent requirement "sitting here right now."
Nadler asks Wray if he has any reason to doubt Comey testimony about Trump pressuring him to drop Flynn investigation. Wray: "Questions you're asking go directly to what special counsel Mueller is investigating and I don't think it would be appropriate for me to weigh in."
Wray gives an unequivocal, steady-voiced defense of FBI personnel as "decent people committed to the highest principles." Says that bureau is human & makes mistakes, but when it does and an "independent fact-finding is complete, we will hold our folks accountable if appropriate."
Chabot on Strzok: "The Q is how did this guy get on your supposedly unbiased team in the 1st place when this is the same guy that... had a hand in altering the FBI’s conclusion that she was grossly negligent so she could escape prosecution and stay in the race against Trump?"
Chabot also goes after Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissman, calling him "just as biased as Strzok." Here's some bg on Weissman:…
Remember: One of Wray's chief tasks this morning is to push for reauthorization of Section 702 — but the issue is being drowned out by the furor over Trump/Russia/Clinton. And this is the committee that has passed out a bill reforming that law!
Lofgren pushing on integrity of the voting structure going into 2018, something Wray says the bureau is focused on. Citing the foreign influence task force the bureau has stood up.…
Lofgren also pushed him on how and when the bureau issued Russia hack notifications:
Issa: Is an FBI agent allowed to have a political opinion?
Wray: Yes
I: Communicate it to wife or mistress?
W: Yes
I: So nothing in a text communicating an opinion would be cause for firing or other action?
W: Each question would have to be based on its own circumstances.
Issa getting at the suggestion that "whatever Strzok did was sufficient to cause him to be relieved" when just texting a political opinion would not normally result in that step.
Issa asks Wray to give HJC "all 10K texts... to understand why [Strzok] was dismissed and how it might be relevant to objectivity of Comey investigation and conclusion."
Wray says if the inspector general is comfortable with information being provided, "that's one very significant consideration that can be put to the side." Says he can commit staff will work with cmte staff to be responsive without compromising "very active" IG investigation.
Goodlatte makes clear he expects full response to request for information from *bureau* not inspector general.
Big takeaway so far: Whatever Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz comes up with, it's gonna be a bombshell inside the beltway. Here's some BG on that investigation:…
Sheila Jackson Lee asks about the Trump tweet that bureau reputation is in "tatters." Wray says agents and analysts at the FBI are “big boys and girls," but that based on his experience with outside partners, the bureau's reputation is pretty good.
Jackson Lee asks if removal of Strzok could end up sabotaging Mueller probe. Wray: "I’m not aware of any effort to sabotage special counsel Mueller’s invetigation.”
King is now asking Wray what access committees have had to unmasking requests. Wray points out congressional committees themselves also make unmasking requests and turns to his concern with leaks.
Wray says he has tightened up rules on interactions with the media within the FBI.
Wray: "I'm not really a Twitter guy. I've never tweeted. Don't have any plans to tweet."
Wray on Mueller: "My experience is Mueller is very well respected within the FBI."
Wray on Comey: "Smart lawyer and dedicated public servant"; "somebody I enjoyed working with." Hasn't stayed in touch recently. Here's a nugget from their relationship:
Jim Jordan is up, setting up a question on the Steele dossier.
Jordan wants to know whether the Steele dossier was used as the basis for a FISA warrant to spy on Trump transition. Wray says staff have been having extensive interactions on FISA applications with intel committees and says that's the appropriate place for those conversations.
Wray: We will not hesitate to hold people accountable after an appropriate independent investigation. Based on that I will look at all available remedies. As to access to dossier, that is subject to ongoing discussion between my staff and intel committees.
Wray: I do not believe I can legally and appropriately share a FISA court submission with this committee. When I sign FISA applications, which I have to do almost every day of the week, they are all covered with a classified information cover.
Goodlatte: This committee has primary jurisdiction over the FISC. So any request for docs coming to any part of the Congress should include HJC. Can be provided to us in a classified setting.
Jordan, Gowdy and Labrador all pow-wow after this exchange. All of them look like they're grinning.
Re: Section 702 data, the FBI queries about 4.3 percent of what the NSA collects, Wray tells Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas).
Wray has provided this 4.3 percent figure before:…
The key here is that we don't know: 4.3 percent of WHAT?
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