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Grassley raised concerns about FBI leadership to Christopher Wray at his confirmation hearing


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President Trump's pick for FBI director, Christopher Wray, told lawmakers during his Wednesday confirmation hearing that he would confer with senior bureau leadership regarding the numerous federal inquiries into acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) used his opening statement during Wray's hearing to go after McCabe, who is an integral part of the FBI's Russia investigation.

"I think that one of the first things I would do upon being confirmed is try to take stock of the situation with the senior leadership and try to understand better the circumstances," said Wray. "There is of course, [an] Inspector General investigation into acting Director McCabe's conduct."

Wray did not elaborate on McCabe's future with the bureau, telling Grassley, "I know Mr. chairman your strong support for the Inspector General's function is well known and I obviously would want to respect that and not comment here out of school."

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Grassley has raised numerous questions about McCabe's independence and the acting director's potential for conflicts of interest.

Circa reported last month that former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was investigated by the FBI and later fired by Trump, was also a witness against McCabe and the FBI in a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by former FBI Special Agent Robin Gritz.

“That means Lt. General Flynn is an adverse witness,” noted Grassley.

McCabe, a central player in the Russia election case, is the focus of three separate federal administrative inquiries into allegations about his behavior as a senior bureau executive, according to documents and interviews.

The allegations being reviewed range from sexual discrimination to improper political activity, the documents show.

Grassley questioned why McCabe had not recused himself from the investigation, citing three federal inquiries against McCabe.

The Department of Justice Inspector General's office is investigating the roughly $700,000 McCabe's wife Jill, received during her unsuccessful run in 2015 for state senate in Virginia.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) gave roughly $500,000 to her campaign. State senate campaigns on average cost approximately $60,000 but the contentious race against current state Sen. Richard H. Black, a former Marine combat pilot, was one of the most expensive in Virginia history.

Grassley has also aired his concerns regarding McCabe's possible Hatch Act violations, which are currently being investigated by The Office of U.S. Special Counsel, the government’s main whistle-blower agency, as reported by Circa.

The Hatch Act prohibits FBI employees from engaging "in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group."

It also defines prohibited political activity as "any activity directed at the success or failure of a partisan group or candidate in a partisan election."

READ | McCabe probed for possible Hatch Act violations

The inquiries remain open but so far there have not been any adverse findings against the senior FBI executive, who soared through the ranks the last few years to become deputy director and acting director since James Comey was fired.

FBI officials and McCabe declined comment.

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