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Russia-Trump: FBI chief Wray defends agency

Russia-Trump: FBI chief Wray defends agency
From BBC - December 7, 2017

FBI Director Christopher Wray has launched a staunch defence of the agency following criticism by US President Donald Trump.

Mr Wray told a committee of lawmakers that there was "no finer institution".

Mr Trump recently lashed out at the federal law enforcement agency, saying its reputation was "in tatters".

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, is investigating alleged Russian interference in the US election to help elect Mr Trump.

Mr Trump denies that his team colluded with Moscow.

"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," Mr Wray told the House of Representatives judiciary committee.

Impartiality of investigation under spotlight

Analysis by Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

FBI Director Christopher Wray was the man testifying before the committee on Thursday morning, but - at least for the Republican congressmen present - it was special counsel Robert Mueller in the spotlight.

In particular, the Republicans honed in on a former member of Mr Mueller's team, Peter Strzok, a top FBI counterintelligence officer removed from the investigation this summer after the agency discovered he had written negative text messages about Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The strategy is clear - to raise doubts about the impartiality of Mr Mueller's investigation. The president's supporters for months have been pointing to perceived Democratic leanings of some of the investigative team, including a handful of donations made to Democratic candidates.

Mr Strzok - who participated in the interview of Trump confidante Michael Flynn as well as the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state - has now become the most-cited example of possible bias.

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