Three days after federal agents searched former President Trump’s Florida home for classified documents, FBI Director Christopher Wray emailed his workforce urging them to tune out criticism from those who “don’t know what we know and don’t see what we see.” The work was done by the book, the director wrote. “We don’t cut corners. We don’t play favorites.” The message was an acknowledgment of the unprecedented nature of the search and the subsequent pummeling the bureau had been receiving from Trump and his supporters. The pressures on Wray and the FBI have grown since then and are only likely to intensify. In its long history, the FBI has rarely been at the center of so many politically sensitive investigations, reports the Associated Press. Agents are simultaneously examining the retention of classified documents by Trump and President Biden. They’re scrutinizing efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the U.S. Capitol.
The probes are unfolding in a hyper-partisan environment as the 2024 presidential election nears and as Congress launches its own investigations of the FBI. The bureau has been subjected to regular attacks from Trump, his supporters and right-wing pundits, with the former president saying FBI “misfits” are less credible than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Wray acknowledged the FBI was enduring tough times. He downplayed the impact the “noise” had on day-to-day work, insisting the opinions he most valued were those of “the people we do the work for and those we do the work with. I look not just at the one or two investigations being discussed breathlessly on social media or cable news but at the impact we’re having across the country to protect the American people." Republicans are using their newly minted House majority to investigate the investigators, accusing the FBI of abuses ranging from unfairly targeting Trump to suppressing free speech. They’ve highlighted whistleblower complaints against supervisors that the FBI for privacy reasons says it’s constrained from fully responding to. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a Wray critic and chair of the House Judiciary Committee, says he supports rank-and-file agents but is concerned about the FBI's leadership.