FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday wouldn’t comment directly on President Donald Trump’s controversial tweets on four progressive minority congresswomen that caused an uproar among Democrats and Republicans.
“I don’t really engage on rhetoric or social media commentary, our focus is on violence on attempts to commit violence on conspiracies to commit violence and we will aggressively pursue that whether the victims are members of Congress or any other Americans,” Wray said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, when asked about the overall effect of Trump’s rhetoric on potential hate crimes.
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Wray was responding to questions from Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota about the FBI’s ability to secure the safety of House members.
Wray made his comments as Trump continued his attacks on four Democratic congresswomen who make up the “Squad” — Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. Trump previously tweeted that they should “go back” to the “crime infested places” they came from.
Ocasio Cortez, Pressley and Tlaib were born in America while Omar, a Somali refugee, became a citizen at age 17.
Wray also assured committee members that the FBI continues to work with security officials on Capitol Hill to protect members of Congress.
“Any time someone including a member of Congress is the subject of a threat we hope that they will come forward- we want to try to communicate with them,” Wray said.
Democrats had previously warned that Omar was in “imminent danger” after a crowd at a Trump rally last week directed heated rhetoric at Omar, chanting “send her back.”
Wray also fielded questions during his hearing about the rise of crimes motivated by white supremacists, in response to concerns from Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) that the FBI wasn’t doing enough to crack down on hate crimes.
“A majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacy,” he said.