Jul 23, 2019

FBI director's day on the Hill: China, Russia and domestic terrorism

Christopher Wray. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

FBI Director Christopher Wray addressed bureau oversight, China, election security and domestic terrorism in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

The big picture: Wray identified China as the top counterintelligence threat to the United States, and cited Russia as the second greatest concern.

  • He said the lines between China's government and private sector are "blurred," giving the communist country the chance to use "nontraditional collectors" to engage in espionage.
  • "As long as they keep committing crimes and threatening our national security, they are going to keep encountering the FBI," Wray said.

But, but, but: Russia was also a hot topic on Tuesday. When asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham if Russia was still trying to interfere in American elections, Wray responded: "The Russians are absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections through foreign influence."

  • "My view is until they stop, they haven’t been deterred enough," Wray added.

Details: Wray outlined the state of domestic terrorism in the U.S., saying the FBI made about 100 arrests related to such criminal activity in the first 3 quarters of the fiscal year. The bureau director said the majority of those cases were related to white supremacy.

Of note: Wray largely avoided questions about the Mueller report and President Trump's recent racist attacks on 4 Democratic congresswomen.

  • Wray said he was trying to give deference to former special counsel Robert Mueller, who is scheduled to testify on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Go deeper: Trump says he has confidence in FBI director

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.