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FBI Chief to Face Shooting Questions   07/24 06:08


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- FBI Director Christopher Wray is set to testify Wednesday 
about the bureau's investigation into the attempted assassination of former 
President Donald Trump, with lawmakers at a congressional hearing likely to 
press him for fresh details about the gunman's motive and background.

   The hearing before the House Judiciary Committee will represent Wray's most 
detailed comments to date about a shooting that has again thrust the FBI into 
the political maelstrom as agents continue to investigate the 20-year-old 
gunman, Thomas Matthew Crooks, and the most serious attempt to assassinate a 
president or presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan was shot in 1981.

   The hearing had been scheduled well before the June 13 shooting as part of 
the committee's routine oversight of the FBI and Justice Department, and though 
lawmakers may touch on a broad array of topics, questions about the shooting 
are expected to dominate the session.

   Despite being appointed by Trump, Wray typically faces antagonistic 
questions from the Republican-led panel, a reflection of lingering discontent 
over the FBI's investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 
campaign. Though the FBI has avoided the same level of scrutiny directed at the 
Secret Service over security lapses that preceded the shooting, culminating 
Tuesday in the resignation of Director Kimberly Cheatle, Wray is likely to be 
questioned by lawmakers skeptical of the bureau's assessment that Crooks left 
behind no obvious ideological motive that could explain his actions.

   The FBI has said that it is investigating the Butler, Pennsylvania, 
shooting, which killed one rallygoer and seriously injured two others, as an 
act of domestic terrorism and an attempted assassination.

   Wray and other senior officials privately briefed members of Congress last 
week, telling them that Crooks had photos on his phone of Trump and President 
Joe Biden and other officials, and had also looked up the dates for the 
Democratic National Convention as well as Trump's appearances. A law 
enforcement official told The Associated Press last week that Crooks had also 
flown a drove above the rally site before the event in an apparent effort to 
scope out the scene in advance.

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