FBI Director Christopher Wray said Wednesday that some Republicans’ calls to defund his agency are “ill-conceived,” detailing what would happen if that were to become a reality.
During testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Wray said defunding or dismantling the FBI would be “disastrous for 38,000 hard-working career law enforcement professionals and their families.”
Wray said it would also negatively impact state and local law enforcement partners who depend on the FBI.
“It would hurt the American people, neighborhoods and communities all across this country,” he said, adding that “the people that it would help would be ... violent gangs and cartels, foreign terrorists, Chinese spies, hackers, and so forth.”
Later in the hearing, Wray said the country would see “hundreds more violent criminals out on the street,” including gangs and “child predators.”
More terrorist attacks, “both jihadist-inspired and [by] domestic violent extremists,” would be successful, he said. And less fentanyl would be taken off the streets, “so many, many, many, many more of those lethal doses would be sweeping the country.”
Some influential far-right Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have called for the FBI to be defunded.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Wray faced fierce criticism from Republicans on the panel who accused him of being responsible for low levels of trust in the FBI and who claimed the department has been weaponized against the GOP.