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WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies – today questioned Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray regarding potential spying on the Trump campaign during the 2016 election and the FBI’s efforts to combat Russian inference in our elections.

Click Here to Watch Sen. Moran’s Full Questioning

 Sen. Moran: “Director, let me begin with follow up on the hearing we had last week with Attorney General Barr. A few weeks ago in that budget hearing, he indicated that he believed spying on the Trump campaign did occur in the 2016 election, and the question was whether that spying was legal. The Attorney General stated he intended to look into the legality of these actions, and I believe that’s of value. Have you initiated any internal reviews of the FBI’s action during the 2016 election?”

Director Wray (0:38): “Well Mr. Chairman, there are a couple things going on.

“First, there is of course, the ongoing Inspector General’s investigation that is being conducted by the independent Office of the Inspector General, and our folks are assisting them with their effort.
“And then second, as you alluded to, now that the Special Counsel investigation is completed, and having only recently returned to the Department, the Attorney General is seeking to understand better the circumstances at the Department and the FBI relating to how this investigation started and we’re working to help him get that understanding. I think that’s part of his job and part of mine.”
Sen. Moran (1:24): “The Mueller Report, as you indicated, has been released, and it did find that the Russians did interfere with the 2016 election. Could you please elaborate on the FBI’s role in election security, and actions taken by the Bureau during the 2016 election to mitigate foreign interference?”

Director Wray (1:46): “Well as to the 2016 election, I think I’ll let the Special Counsel’s report speak for itself. You know its 450 pages long, represents a lot of hard work by a large team of professionals over almost two years.

“One of the things that I set in motion, almost immediately after starting in this role, was to create a Foreign Influence Task Force, which is a measure not just of how seriously I take, and we take, the foreign malign influence threat, but also, I think a recognition of the need for better coordination.

“This is a multidisciplinary problem requiring a multidisciplinary solution. So the Foreign Influence Task Force brings together our cyber resources, our counter-intelligence resources, our criminal resources and even our counter-terrorism resources because there is a little bit of a domestic terrorism wrinkle to some of this. It acts as sort of the hub with the spokes going out to our field offices and coordinating with the Department of Homeland Security, ODNI, NSA, and in particular, working much more closely with state and local election officials, along with the Department of Homeland Security and the tech sector in Silicon Valley.

“Because – on the foreign influence threat in particular – I think it’s very important for Americans to understand that this is a threat that is not just a government threat. We need to have the partnership with the social media companies in particular. And, we’ve had really significant progress in that regard going into the midterms, and there were a lot of successes in the 2018 midterms through that kind of team effort.”

Sen. Moran (3:30): “Is the election interference broader than just – when we talk about foreign interference in our elections – is it broader than just Russia?”

Director Wray (3:37): “Well there’s different kinds of malign foreign influence. Certainly other countries, other adversaries, are engaged in different kinds of malign foreign influence. The specific form of sowing divisiveness and discord through the bullhorn that social media provides – you know the trolls, the bots, etcetera – that was something that was really fairly unique to the Russians. But, certainly we know that other countries have been eyeing those efforts and entertaining whether or not to take a page out of that book.”

Click here to watch the full questioning. 

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