Christopher Wray might be unusually adept at dodging questions --- perhaps rivaled only by Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, who was the champion --- but in his testimony last week to the House Judiciary Committee, he still inadvertently communicated some important points to those paying attention. Legal analyst Margot Cleveland was paying attention.
Recall that it was just ahead of this hearing that we learned of the FBI’s role as a conduit between Ukrainian intelligence (the SBU, which, ironically, was known to have been infiltrated by Russia) and social media companies to stop so-called “Russian disinformation.” The FBI could not have been more helpful to the SBU, sending lists of accounts, including American accounts, that social media should remove.
This new information came in a report from the House Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government. As Cleveland points out, “the FBI’s involvement triggered the same First Amendment problems as those litigated in Missouri v. Biden. Several members of the Judiciary Committee directly challenged Wray to justify the activity.
Wray told the Judiciary Committee that the FBI had stepped in because Ukraine’s communications system was down. But if that’s true, the SBU should have contacted American companies on its own if it thought any American accounts should be shut down. Why did they go to the FBI, when the FBI isn’t supposed to be “in the business” (Wray’s words) of doing this? Do social media companies accept such requests from foreign countries? And do these companies censor Americans based on foreign claims of “disinformation?”
It’s not just social media, either, that the FBI has exploited, but also private corporations such as banks. Recall that they went to Bank of America to get the financial records of customers who had purchased firearms in the six months prior to January 6, 2021. Bank of America apparently handed them right over --- as memory serves, there was no subpoena.
The FBI decided not to use those records, but that’s not the point. As Cleveland explains, “Wray framed Bank of America’s data sharing as consistent with ‘business partners’ who ‘all the time’ share information about possible criminal activity.
“Business partners”?? And, by the way, the legal purchase of a firearm is by definition NOT a criminal activity. So why would Bank of America simply turn their customers’ information over? And what other “business partners” is the FBI working with?
Another disturbing thing about Wray’s testimony: he insisted the Bureau wasn’t responsible for censorship because they were only making “suggestions” to social media. Cleveland suggests Wray read the opinion in Missouri v. Biden, as the FBI actually played a heavy role. (When social media dawdled, they even sent a follow-up email to crack the whip.)
Wray also demonstrated --- or feigned --- ignorance of what his agency had been doing. In two different testimonies, he’s contradicted himself on whether the FBI had used Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which allows them to conduct warrantless collection of communications of foreign individuals, in their investigation of January 6. We already knew the FBI had abused this provision of the law to “unmask” Americans such as Michael Flynn in conversations with foreign officials.
To set the record straight, the FBI did indeed abuse Section 702 --- thousands of times --- against J6 protesters as reported by THE HILL about two months ago. Wray seems a bit hazy on that. Section 702 is set to expire at the end of the year, and that is one that should NOT be renewed.
Wray also failed to answer questions about Brian Auten’s involvement in the Hunter Biden investigation. Auten has supposedly been under investigation (sure he has) since 2019 for his role in Crossfire Hurricane.
But Jim Hoft in a GATEWAY PUNDIT opinion piece reports that Auten is sort of the “Kevin Bacon” of FBI investigators, in that seemingly every hoax investigation has ties to him. Auten was involved in “Crossfire Hurricane,” a REAL attempted coup. He buried the Hunter laptop scandal ahead of the 2020 election, which likely changed the outcome. He also was involved in the raid on Mar-A-Lago.
As outlined in the hearing by Texas Rep. Chip Roy, not only does Auten still have a job after all that, but in August 2020 he was assigned by the FBI to complete an assessment on the allegations of financial crimes and corruption within the Biden family, which they used to characterize these revelations as --- you guessed it --- “Russian information.” Roy asked Wray, “How on earth did the FBI empower an agent under investigation for potentially corrupt performance and abuse of FISA in one politically fraught investigation, a Democrat-operative-driven case against President Trump, to play a key role to undermine a second politically fraught investigation, a case against the Bidens? How is that possible? How can you allow that to occur in the FBI?”
Wray answered that he couldn’t “at the moment” discuss “a pending personnel matter.”
One thing Wray was more specific about: he was clear that the now-infamous parents-at-school-board-
Cleveland also got a sense of the Democrats’ political strategy from their rhetoric and main lines of questioning. She sees them as divided into two groups: the left and the far-left. The leftist lawmakers spent most of their time going easy on the FBI, rehabilitating them, setting them up as heroes, etc. The far-left simply did what they enjoy most in the world: attack Donald Trump and so-called “MAGA Republicans.” Except for “Squad” member Pramila Jayapal, who actually challenged Wray about buying data on Americans from various data brokers --- and why aren’t all the Democrats asking about things like this?? --- both the left and the far-left seemed unconcerned with the many civil rights abuses we’ve seen coming from the FBI in recent years.
Another tactic the Democrats tried was to slander the whistleblowers, falsely stating that they had been paid for their testimony. That’s just plain rotten, but whistleblowers had to steel themselves for it, because the speech or debate clause prohibits them from suing members of Congress who lied about them. Lawmakers get to do that with impunity, and they did.
Which brings us to Adam Schiff of California. During Wray’s hearing, he couldn’t resist repeating the lie about President Trump’s call with the Georgia secretary of state after the 2020 election, saying that Trump told Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes.” This did not actually happen, but just watch: Schiff will never stop lying about it, or ever apologize to any Republican for any lie he has ever told.
Law professor Jonathan Turley testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday about the reauthorization of Section 702. For when you have time, here’s the link to his written statement. Turley offers some suggestions for reform if the whole thing isn’t allowed to sunset, making it clear that there have been “gross and systemic violations by the government.”
Brandon Long, a Biden judiciary nominee, is being pressured by Sen. Marsha Blackburn to reveal his role in various FBI activities, including the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Finally, it should surprise no one that Biden’s nominee to head the NSA and Cyber Command is a disaster. His Senate confirmation hearing was the same day Wray testified to the House Judiciary Committee and so didn’t get much attention at the time. But he defends Section 702, saying it’s been “extensively used” (no kidding!) and “irreplaceable.”
RELATED: In a big breath of fresh air, President Trump pledged Saturday at a Turning Point USA event to “totally obliterate the deep state” and create some form of “Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” as other countries have done after periods of wrongdoing and corruption. This would declassify and release “all documents on deep-state spying, censorship and all the corruption that’s gone on in America.”
Trump makes it clear now that his previous time in the White House taught him who the players are. He knows who he should and should not have in his administration. “I know everybody in Washington,” he said. “I got a Ph.D. in learning about the people of Washington.” This is no honorary degree for him --- he earned it.
The amazing thing is that after learning about the people of Washington, he still wants to go back there. It has to be love of country and an unwavering desire to fix what’s wrong that drives him now. And even though the Lord says vengeance is His, I wouldn’t fault Trump too much for also being motivated by that.