White House press secretary Jen Psaki dodged questions on Wednesday whether President Biden trusted his FBI director amid emotional testimonies from Olympic gymnasts on Capitol Hill about how the office failed investigation into convicted child molester Larry Nassar.
When asked if Mr Biden still trusted FBI Director Christopher Wray, Ms Psaki objected, citing that he was testifying on Capitol Hill alongside the abused gymnasts.
“Obviously, the FBI director also testified today and expressed his take on what went wrong here, so I’m bringing it to your attention,” Ms. Psaki said.
The lack of firm support for Mr Wray is a departure from the previous White House position. Ms Psaki said in July that the president “trusted” the FBI director even as blunders continued to pile up for the battles office.
The four female gymnasts torched the FBI on Wednesday for its inaction and mismanagement of the case. Officers then made false statements to cover up the fallout from the botched investigation.
“What’s the point of reporting abuse if our own FBI agents bury this report in a drawer?” McKayla Maroney said Wednesday during testimony before Congress.
“They allowed a child molester to go out on the loose for over a year and this inaction directly allowed Nassar’s abuse to continue,” she added, recounting how she explained the abuse to officers. that she suffered at the hands of Nassar.
Ms Psaki called the gymnasts’ testimony “incredibly powerful” and called Nassar a “monstrous human being”.
Nassar pleaded guilty in 2018 to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls told court he sexually assaulted them.
The Justice Department Inspector General concluded in a report that the FBI failed to launch a proper investigation, leading to the dismissal of an agent earlier this summer. A supervisor who was blasted in the Inspector General’s report for breaking FBI protocol retired in 2018.