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FBI director rejects Trump's assessment of FBI 'in tatters'

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The FBI is composed of "hard-charging, high integrity people," Wray said. "The FBI that I see is appreciated and respected." ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday rejected President Trump’s assessment that the FBI is “in tatters,” and defended the agency he was confirmed to lead in August.

"There's no finer institution than the FBI and no finer people than those who work there and are its beating heart,” Wray said during an oversight hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday.

The FBI is composed of “hard-charging, high integrity people,” Wray said. “The FBI that I see is appreciated and respected.”

On Sunday, Trump tweeted out that the agency’s standing is the “worst in history” and that its reputation is in “tatters.” He sent that tweet after news broke that one FBI official, Peter Strzok, was removed from the special counsel's team looking at Russia's influence in the election after it became clear he favored Hillary Clinton.

Wray’s response Thursday morning was his first public reply to Trump's email. In an email message to the FBI’s 35,000 agents and staff, Wray said he was “inspired by example after example of professionalism and dedication to justice demonstrated around the bureau. It is truly an honor to represent you.”