Christopher Wray, Trump's handpicked FBI director, threw some delightful shade at Trump during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Speaking at a press conference late Thursday afternoon, Trump-appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray defended the integrity of the institution and delivered a powerful yet subtle rebuke of Trump's attacks on the agency.
Wray's remarks came in response to a report issued earlier in the day by the Justice Department's office of inspector general (OIG), which just wrapped up an investigation into the FBI's conduct during the 2016 election.
As Wray noted, the report cited "errors in judgment" by certain FBI employees, but found no evidence of political bias influencing the agency's work.
"It's important to note what the Inspector General did not find," Wray said. "This report did not find any evidence of political bias or improper considerations impacting the investigation under review."
While he acknowledged that the report's recommendations were valid and would be taken seriously, Wray also used the opportunity to subtly smack down Trump's accusations that the FBI is "corrupt" and "biased" against him.
"Nothing in the report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution," Wray said.
But he wasn't finished yet.
When asked to comment on Trump's criticism of the bureau, Wray responded by throwing some delightful shade in Trump's direction.
Instead of answering the question, Wray replied by saying he's only focused on "the opinions that matter."
Wray also repeatedly referenced law and order, and reiterated the FBI's mission to "uphold the Constitution" and to follow the facts "objectively and independently, no matter who likes it."
"I am a huge believer in the importance of process, doing the job by the book," he said. "The FBI's brand over the past 110 years is based less on successes than the way we've earned it. We've earned it by following the rules, following the law, following guidelines, staying true to core values and traditions."
While he never said Trump's name, Wray was clearly sending a message to the White House as he emphasized the importance of "doing the right thing the right way," and "treating people with respect" — concepts that are unfamiliar to Trump.
The best part of the whole thing is that Wray's digs at Trump were just subtle enough that he stayed above the fray and didn't come across as aggressive or angry — but they were also just obvious enough that they won't go unnoticed by their intended target.
Well played, Director Wray. Well played.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.