FBI Director Chris Wray warned during testimony Thursday of a disturbing spike in violence and property crime — referring to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots as an outbreak of “extremist violence” drawing “extremely important” manpower.
Wray made the comments in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, where Speaker Jerold Nadler (DN.Y.) began the hearing with even more footage of the Capitol riot — as well as Representative. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) likens rioters to a ‘normal tourist visit’.
In his own opening statement, Wray spoke of political violence, referring to both the riots and the violent perpetrators who infiltrated social justice protests last summer.
“In recent years we have witnessed far too often the disturbing phenomenon of people resorting to violence and destruction of property to achieve their ideological political or social goals,” said FBI Director Chris Wray.
“In recent years we have witnessed far too often the disturbing phenomenon of people resorting to violence and destruction of property to achieve their ideological political or social goals,” he warned.
“Far too often we see individuals inspired by one or more extremist ideologies to commit criminal acts against their fellow Americans.”
Wray spoke of an outbreak of violence across the country and cited political violence
Legal Chair Jerold Nadler Played Video Footage of the Capitol Riots
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) spoke about ‘big tech’ coronavirus lockdown rules preventing people from getting together
Wray was asked if he thought the Capitol uprising was an ‘uprising’
Protesters disperse at a rally to abolish ICE after US President Joe Biden’s inauguration, outside an ICE facility in Portland, Oregon, US Jan. 20, 2021
Wray said he was not aware of any investigation into former President Trump’s speech on Jan. 6, the day of the riots.
Speaking of the riots, Wray said: “We saw this kind of extremist violence on January 6 when an angry mob used violence and destruction to break into the US Capitol in a failed attempt to undermine our government institutions and our democratic process. ‘
Rep. Steve Cohen asked him if he would call it an “uprising” – a term that would associate the riots with a deliberate attempt to overthrow the elected government.
Wray did not use the term, but he repeatedly linked the riots to Congress’ constitutional duty to count the electoral votes on January 6 this year. Former President Trump claimed electoral fraud and that the election had been “stolen” after losing to Joe Biden in the popular vote and electoral college.
“Certainly now, when it comes to January 6. It is a unique type of attack, not only in terms of the number of individuals, but in terms of the attempt to disrupt an important part of our constitutional system and a peaceful transition of government that is such a hallmark of our country. Wray replied.
“So it’s a very important attack and in itself, and we certainly have – as we have already talked about almost 500 arrests, we have all our field offices fully armed and the amount of manpower spent on it is extremely important for one attack, ‘ he said. Cohen thanked him for his answer.
Speaking of the riot itself, where Wray noted that the FBI had issued a number of advanced warnings on Jan. 5, including raw information, he said the riot was an “intelligence failure.”
“You can bet we’re going to look hard at how we can do it better, how we can do more, how we can do things differently in terms of collecting and distributing,” he told Nadler.
Democrats also urged him to have the FBI investigate Trump over his comments calling on supporters to fight before the riots.
“I’m not aware of any research that specifically focuses on that, but we have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of studies related to January 6 involving a lot of different parts and I want to be careful,” Wray said.
Wray called the riots “an attack that killed you, the members of Congress, but killed all Americans and injured more than 100 law enforcement officers in just a few hours.”
Wray has also been criticized for hate crimes in the US, as well as an increase in illegal border crossings and south to the Southwestern border.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ind.), called the situation ‘chaos’.
“I absolutely agree that security on the southwestern border is a major concern,” Wray said.
He spoke about drug trafficking, human trafficking and violence on ‘both sides’ of the border.
“Of course we’re trying to do our part” to address it, he said.
Wray also spoke of political violence in Portland and other cities last summer, citing “violent and destructive behavior.”
He referred to social justice protests, but added: “Others – far too many – stubbornly took advantage of those protests to pursue violent extremist agendas.” He also spoke about violent crimes that were non-political in nature.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) spoke about ‘big tech’ coronavirus lockdown rules preventing people from coming together. “Every right we enjoy under the First Amendment has been attacked,” he said.