House Republicans demanded Monday that FBI Director Christopher Wray come clean about his personal travel on an official FBI jet, citing The Post’s reporting that Wray cut short a Senate hearing earlier this month so he could head to the Adirondacks for some R&R.
No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik (R-NY), joined by the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Intelligence committees, asked Wray to hand over records about his personal use of the jet and reimburse taxpayers for any non-official travel.
“In light of a recent report by the New York Post that you left a Senate hearing early to fly on an FBI aircraft for a personal vacation, we have questions about whether you are properly reimbursing federal taxpayers for your personal travel aboard government aircraft,” Stefanik wrote to Wray.
Wray took the jet to Saranac Lake after insisting he had to leave an Aug. 4 appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee early for a flight. The director’s early exit headed off questions about whistleblower claims that the FBI shielded first son Hunter Biden from investigations into his foreign business deals.
The Senate panel’s top Republican, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, tore into Wray at the hearing, saying that if he was using a government jet, he could reschedule its departure.
“Despite requests from Ranking Member Grassley, you refused to remain at the hearing for an additional 21 minutes for remaining members to finish asking their questions and conduct oversight of the FBI,” Stefanik wrote.
“You reportedly departed on the FBI’s Gulfstream 550 jet, an agency aircraft initially intended for counterterrorism use, to make the one hour and 12-minute journey to Saranac Lake,” Stefanik went on.
“Further, it has been reported that you made a similar personal trip on a government aircraft on June 2 and June 5, 2022. Although certain federal officials are permitted to use government aircraft for personal or political use, these expenses must be reimbursed.”
Republicans cannot currently compel Wray to produce documents, but will be able to do so if they retake control of Congress in the November midterm elections.
The letter from Stefanik and her co-signers — Reps. James Comer (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, and Mike Turner (R-Ohio), the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee — asks Wray to hand over any communications or documents related to his travel on official planes.
The amped-up scrutiny of Wray comes amid Republican outrage at the FBI’s raid last week on former President Donald Trump’s residence in Palm Beach, Fla. The unprecedented raid on a former president was related to his possible mishandling of classified documents, according to court records unsealed Friday.
Wray turned heads with his early departure from the Aug. 4 committee hearing.
Grassley tried in vain to force Wray to remain for additional questions, and after the hearing concluded, the senator appeared to elicit from Wray an assertion that he was leaving for official business.
The Adirondacks are a favorite summer destination for Wray, 55, since his childhood. His father, Cecil, was Adirondack Park Agency commissioner for 14 years.
At the Senate hearing this month, Wray told Grassley that he couldn’t sit for more questions because “I had had a flight that I’m supposed to be hightailing it to out of here.”
“If it’s for a business trip, you got your own plane. Can’t it wait a while?” Grassley protested.
“Sorry, to be honest, um, I’ve tried to make my break as fast as I could to get right back out here,” Wray deflected.
“You took more than five minutes,” Grassley fired back.
Wray laughed off the rebuke and committee chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) intervened to redirect the conversation.
The matter came up again when Wray shook Grassley’s hand before leaving.
“So you got other business?” the frustrated senator asked in an apparent reference to his flight.
“Yeah,” Wray replied.
The FBI did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.