March 02, 2021

Durbin Questions FBI Director Wray on Domestic Terrorism

Wray states unequivocally that white supremacists and violent extremists invaded the Capitol on January 6, and that there is no evidence to suggest they were fake Trump supporters

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today asked questions during the domestic terrorism oversight hearing with Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray. Durbin asked Wray why the FBI did not issue a threat assessment ahead of January 6th, despite intelligence that suggested a violent and planned attack might be possible.

“I was surprised to learn the FBI did not issue a threat assessment before January 6th. Especially because the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, Field Office had uncovered specific threats against members of Congress, maps of the tunnel system under the Capitol complex, and places to meet together before traveling to Washington. I was also surprised to hear Acting D.C. Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Conte say that this information was only conveyed to the MPD in an e-mail at 7:00 P.M. the night before January 6th. Chief Conte acknowledged that the information was raw intelligence, but said he would think, ‘Something as violent as an insurrection at the Capitol would warrant a phone call or something’. So it comes down to the basic question what the FBI knew, when they knew it, whether they shared it, why it didn't rise to the level of a threat assessment,” Durbin said.

Wray answered by stating that the FBI disseminated the Norfolk Field Office report to the Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police Department the day before the attack, in three different ways: through an email to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, at a verbal briefing at the FBI’s command post, and through an online law enforcement information-sharing portal.  Wray noted that he did not see the intelligence himself until after the January 6th attack.

Durbin then asked Wray about false claims that it was “fake” Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol on January 6th.

“I want to address what I consider the next ‘Big Lie’, after the lie that the President [Trump] really won on November 3rd. The next ‘Big Lie’ appears to be the argument that somehow or another those were not Trump supporters who invaded the Capitol. It made the rounds on the internet right before they came into the building and gaining momentum ever since. I'd like to ask you Director Wray, do you agree the Capitol attack involved white supremacists and other violent extremists?” said Durbin.

Wray answered by saying that the attack “certainly” involved white supremacists and other violent extremists, and that “we, the FBI, consider this a form of domestic terrorism.” Wray also said that he had seen no evidence that the Capitol attack was organized by fake Trump supporters.

Video of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s questions in Committee is available here for TV Stations.

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