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Sen. Josh Hawley Grills FBI Director For Not Firing Anyone Involved in Memo Targeting Catholics

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FBI Director Christopher Wray acknowledged that no one has been fired for a leaked memo targeting “radical-traditionalist Catholics.”

The memo, which was retracted, suggested that violent extremists’ interest in this ideology presented an opportunity for the FBI to engage with certain churches.

Despite the House Weaponization Committee’s report revealing interviews with a priest and a church choir director, Wray stated that employees involved in creating the memo have been admonished but not fired. (Trending: Hunter Biden Indicted on 9 New Criminal Charges)

Senator Josh Hawley pressed Wray on this issue during an FBI Oversight Committee hearing, expressing outrage at the lack of consequences for those involved.

Hawley accused the FBI of systemic bigotry against Catholics, to which Wray responded by denying the characterization.

“Have you fired anybody involved in it?” Hawley asked.

“Senator, if you would give me a chance to answer—” Wray began.

“That’s a yes or a no, it’s not hard. Have you fired anybody involved in the writing of that outrageous memo? Because frankly, you’ve repeatedly misled the public. Yes or no?” Hawley pressed.

Wray eventually claimed that “a number of the individuals involved in writing that product in the Richmond office were themselves Catholic, so, the notion that they were targeting their own faith —”

“Oh, I see. Oh! So it’s a ‘get out of jail free card!’ I see! So, you’re immune and they’re immune,” charged the senator.

“So, we shouldn’t ask questions about it. You haven’t done a darn thing. You haven’t fired anybody,” continued Hawley.

“In fact, what the House found is…you admonished them. They were admonished and their respective supervisors were told to engage with the Human Resources division to ensure the deficiencies are addressed. Oh, well I feel much better. They’ve been sent to bed without food,” Hawley said sarcastically.

“Good heavens director, this is one of the most outrageous targetings,” exclaimed the Missouri Republican.

“You have mobilized your division — the most powerful law enforcement division in the world — against traditionalist Catholics, whatever the heck that means. And you just told us you have not fired a single person,” continued Hawley.

“I mean, here it gets worse. Your Richmond Field office. They thought there was nothing wrong with this. The House interviewed the head of the Richmond Field office….He testified [that] he saw no problem with this. He said he thought it was fine. In fact, we have internal memoranda of the members of the field office high-fiving. One peer reviewer, another member of the field office wrote, ‘I think this is a great product. I really enjoyed the read.’”

“Do you have a problem with systemic bigotry against Catholics in the FBI? asked Hawley.

“No”, replied Wray.

“Those individuals have all been admonished and it is going into their — let me finish my answer. It is all going into their performance reviews and has a direct impact on their compensation, among other things,” said Wray.

“Oh, I see. So the 60 million American Catholics who now learn that your FBI has recommended that priests be recruiters and informants, your FBI has gone to priests and choir directors, but we’re to feel better because you’ve admonished them for their wrongdoing?” Hawley said.

“You, again, are conflating two different things. We are –” Wray began.

“I’m taking your testimony where you said you do not — categorically you said, ‘We do not go to priests and ask them about their parishioners” You ‘do not.’ You didn’t say, ‘We haven’t,’ you didn’t say ‘We won’t.’ You said ‘We don’t.’ It turns out you do,” Hawley said.

“And you kept it from the public, you deliberately misled Congress about it, and the only reason we know about it is because a whistleblower came forward.”

Wray replied, saying he “fundamentally disgree[s]” with Hawley’s “characterization.”

“There’s no characterization, the facts are the facts. And I fundamentally resent the fact that you have violated, if not the letter of, certainly the spirit of the First Amendment, and used your law enforcement agency against Catholics in this nation,” concluded Hawley.

The exchange highlighted the controversy surrounding the FBI’s actions and the lack of accountability for those involved in the memo.

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