Hours after President Donald Trump joined forces with congressional Republicans to release a memo alleging surveillance abuses by the nation’s top law-enforcement agency, FBI Director Christopher Wray released a defiant video message to the bureau’s 35,000 employees on Friday evening thanking them for “standing strong together, and for keeping your faith in this institution that means so much to all of us.”
In an apparent bid to quiet worries that he would resign following the release of the memo, prepared by House intelligence committee chairman Rep. Devin Nunes and his staff, Wray told agents that “I stand fully committed to our mission. I stand by our shared determination to do our work independently and by the book. I stand with you.”
Wray’s video statement was sent to FBI employees hours after the declassification of Nunes’ memo, which alleges that reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s infamous dossier to help renew a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign adviser brings into question the “legitimacy and legality of certain [Justice Department] and FBI interactions with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”
The FBI and the Justice Department had strenuously objected to the memo’s impending release, alleging that Nunes provided the FBI with only “a limited opportunity to review this memo the day before the committee voted to release it.”
Despite those objections, Trump approved the memo’s release without redactions, telling pool reporters on Friday morning that “I think it’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country. A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that.”
Sources have told The Daily Beast, however, that Nunes’ conclusions in the four-page memo are “100%” inaccurate. The FBI itself has publicly attacked the memo, releasing a warning on Wednesday that the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Wray, who Trump hand-picked to replace James Comey as head of the FBI after the latter was fired in May of last year, focused his video statement on assuring the FBI rank-and-file that he doesn’t plan to go anywhere—and that despite accusations of bias and incompetence from Capitol Hill and the White House, they still represent America’s best.
“I wish every American could see what I see,” Wray said in the video statement. “I want you to remember in the days and weeks and months ahead: in the end, actions speak louder than words.”