"I don't trust you": Rep. Mike Garcia goes after FBI Director Christopher Wray at Congressional Hearing


Apr 12, 2024 - On April 11, 2024, Rep. Mike Garcia told FBI Director Christopher Wray at a Congressional hearing, “Director Wray, I’ll be honest with you, and it pains me to say this, but I don’t trust you.” Mike Garcia also posted the following on X:

“I was very direct with FBI Director Wray: I don’t trust him, and he’s failing to protect Americans from the national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border. Under this administration there have been...

-7.5 million illegal crossings

-1.7 million known gotaways

-350 terror watchlist encounters.

The crisis at our southern border is a man-made problem, and the men responsible need to start taking it seriously. Director Wray needs to get the president to secure the border now.”


Mike Garcia also posted, “The FBI's stated, sacred mission is "to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution. Director Wray has failed to stop demonstrable politicization within the FBI, and he continues to understate our greatest national security threat: The southern border. The American people need and deserve an FBI that's committed to protecting them, and I'm committed to holding them accountable.”


Mike Garcia is using polarizing language that is often used by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. This was a continuation of a strategy in 2023 to go after the Justice Department and the FBI to protect Donald Trump from prosecution.


On August 9, 2022, the FBI raided Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago in Florida to recover classified material. Republicans in Congress responded with attacks on the FBI and calling to defund the federal law enforcement agency.


“The FBI raid on Trump’s home tells us one thing,” Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted at the time. “Failure is not an option. We must destroy the FBI.”


Rep. Greene was even less eloquent. “DEFUND THE FBI!” Greene tweeted. Greene still sells “Defund the FBI” apparel on her campaign website.


On April 6, 2023, former President Donald Trump, because of his arrest and prosecution by the Manhattan District Attorney, urged Republicans in Congress to significantly defund the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI. Former President Trump plead not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in New York. Despite these charges being pursued by the Manhattan district attorney, Trump targeted federal law enforcement authorities. Trump and his allies claimed that the FBI and Justice Department were being “politicized”, perhaps anticipating charges by the special counsel appointed by the Department of Justice.


On July 5, 2023, Politico reported that there was a push against the FBI and DOJ by House Republicans, poised to become a central focus of the party's agenda. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, formerly a close ally of Rep. Garcia, threatened to explore impeaching Attorney General Merrick Garland, aligning himself with the fringe of the Republican Party in an attempt to keep his speakership with his narrow GOP majority. Members of the far-right of the Republican majority considered various tactics, including potential budget cuts and ousting FBI Director Christopher Wray. However, these efforts risked exposing division within the GOP, particularly between staunch supporters of law enforcement and those critical of perceived agency overreach. Closed-door discussions revealed internal disagreements, with some lawmakers cautioning against targeting specific agencies in spending bills.


Rep. Garcia says his criticism of the FBI is a result of concern about the border crisis. According to statistics from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 189,372 individuals crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in March 2024.


Venezuelans make up a large portion of those crossing the border, likely in response to the crisis in Venezuela. Venezuela's descent from oil-fueled prosperity into a political and economic quagmire has triggered a mass exodus. Over 7.5 million people have fled the country since 2015. Two decades of rule by the socialist PSUV party, under Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro, saw a consolidation of power in the presidency, eroding checks and balances. The collapse of global oil prices intensified economic woes, plunging Venezuela into recession, hyperinflation, and widespread shortages. Despite waves of protests and internal divisions within the opposition, Maduro clung to power, backed by a loyal military and allies like China and Russia. A glimmer of hope emerged with a unity candidate, former lawmaker María Corina Machado, winning a primary election. A tentative agreement between the government and the opposition promised electoral reforms and 2024 elections. However, Venezuela's Supreme Court dashed those hopes by upholding a ban against Machado, highlighting the persistent obstacles to a democratic transition.


Rep. Garcia has been railing against President Joe Biden, blaming him for the crisis at the Southern border. Garcia’s commentary on immigration is often harmonious with Trump’s language about immigrants. On April 2, 2024, Donald Trump told supporters in Green Bay, Wisconsin that immigrants coming over the border were “animals” and “not human”. The day after Trump’s comments, Garcia posted on X, “Sanctuary cities are protecting child rapists and gang members. Our government should be protecting victims, not illegal immigrants committing heinous crimes in our communities. Soft-on-crime policies combined with open borders have created a recipe for disaster.” Garcia was responding to a post by a Fox News reporter who went on a ride along with ICE, resulting in arrests of alleged sex offenders. The reporter claimed that ICE arrested a “child rapist almost hourly.” A press release from ICE said that it had arrested 275 noncitizens and sex offense convictions during a nationwide effort during the first couple weeks of February 2024. It’s not clear how many of those individuals crossed the U.S.-Mexico border or were undocumented.


Rep. Mike Garcia's contentious stance towards the FBI and DOJ underscores a broader trend within the Republican Party, where polarizing rhetoric and tactics are wielded to protect former President Donald Trump and advance partisan agendas. Garcia's alignment with figures like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Trump himself reflects a strategy to undermine federal law enforcement institutions, perceived as threats to their political interests. Garcia's focus on immigration, echoing Trump's inflammatory language, adds another layer to the contentious political landscape. As Garcia faces a challenging reelection bid against George Whitesides, the former Chief-of-Staff at NASA under President Obama, the outcome will not only impact California's 27th Congressional District but also reflect broader shifts in the political dynamics of the Republican Party and the nation.