Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) went on a tirade aimed at FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday morning, saying he is tired of the department’s stonewalling of information and accusing the director of hiding information from Democrats that Republicans can see.
During his time addressing the director during a Senate hearing on the Jan. 6th. riot at the Capitol, Whitehouse went at Wray with a litany of complaints.
Whitehouse, in particular, focused on the FBI’s intransigence when it came to the sharing of information into Donald Trump’s connections to the Russian government.
“It seems that when the FBI wanted to get information to this committee, particularly when it wanted to get information to Republican members of this committee, so they could investigate your investigation of the Trump/Russia connection, that information got right through to our Republican colleagues,” he accused, “It didn’t go — didn’t seem to go through any interagency process, it wasn’t delayed. What we seem to have is, for most of us, this is bipartisan, by the way when I say we got zero questions for the record answered from those hearings, I mean zero questions of any member of this committee, not zero Democratic members answered.”
He added, “Your people do good work, Director Wray, I don’t think you want that to be our tool. But you can’t be in a situation in which you don’t answer our questions, you create rigmarole log jams and when there is a political interest in getting information out to the committee, suddenly none of that rigmarole pertained, suddenly everybody gets their hands on all of the information they need just as soon as they need it. And, by the way, I believe on a partisan basis; not shared with both sides of the committee.”
“So, before we get to clearing up whatever else we need to get cleared up, all of the stuff that is backed up behind our questions, we got to get through the problem of why you’re not answering our questions, and we have to clear that up,” he charged. “And I don’t know how we clear that up. I think we clear it up, Mr. Chairman in a bipartisan fashion because I think both sides should get this. But this business of years going by of hearings in which zero QFR’s [ Question for the Record] get answered and letters that get thrown off into the ‘don’t care to answer that one’ pile.'”
“Woodrow Wilson once said that the oversight function, the investigative function of Congress is to be preferred even to its legislative function — we have to get that back,” he continued. “And I’m going to find a way with this committee and with you to clear the backlog — if I’ve asked them and they deserve answers, they should be answered.”
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