President Joe Biden has confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray and plans to keep him in his role, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.
Psaki raised some eyebrows in law enforcement and intelligence circles Wednesday when she declined to say in a news briefing whether Biden had confidence in Wray.
In a tweet on Thursday, Psaki clarified that her response had "caused an unintentional ripple" and "wanted to state very clearly" that Biden intends to keep Wray in the job.
The inspectors general of the Justice Department and other federal agencies are reviewing how the FBI, Pentagon and other law enforcement agencies prepared for security at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month, when rioters stormed in and disrupted the electoral vote count. The FBI is leading an investigation intothe attack.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz said last week that he will look at the kind of threat information available beforehand and how widely it was shared with U.S. Capitol Police and other law enforcement agencies.
Wray, who has more than six years left in his 10-year term, had no indication that Biden or his team was dissatisfied with him, a senior FBI official said Wednesday night, adding that "the sentiments shared have all been positive."
Some influential voices have been critical of the FBI's response to the riot, however. David Lauffman, a senior Justice Department official during the Obama administration, said the FBI is supposed to thwart domestic terrorism, and "it's not clear if FBI exercised the urgent, national leadership necessary to maximize protection of the Capitol."
Wray and those around him had previously been concerned he could be fired by former President Donald Trump, who had publicly pressured him to take actions on certain investigations - such as announcing a probe into Biden's son Hunter Biden - and then expressed frustration that Wray did not followed his suggestions.
Hunter Biden announced in December that federal officials in Delaware were investigating his taxes, and a source familiar with the inquiry said it involved his business dealings in China. The U.S. attorney for Delaware's office declined to comment on the investigation.
The Biden campaign also declined to comment at the time the investigation was revealed. Hunter Biden was a target of relentless attacks during the campaign from Trump and his allies, who alleged he used his father's influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China.
Those dealings drew scrutiny throughout the campaign, but no evidence has emerged showing that he or his father engaged in any wrongdoing. He pledged during the campaign that he would not work for any foreign-owned companies if his father won the presidency.