WASHINGTON — FBI Director Christopher Wray confessed Thursday that he cut short his appearance at a Senate oversight hearing in August to take a break in the Adirondacks using the official FBI jet — confirming The Post’s initial scoop despite initially indicating it was a “business” obligation.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) tore into Wray at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing for his “indefensible” conduct and noted that Wray had implied to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) he had to leave as part of his official duties.

Wray’s hurried Aug. 4 departure — over Grassley’s protests — denied Republicans the chance to grill him over whistleblower allegations of a cover-up in the FBI’s investigation into first son Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings.

Hawley noted that three days after Wray bolted from the hearing, The Post’s Miranda Devine reported “that the reason that the hearing had to be cut short is because you were flying on a Gulfstream jet for a personal vacation in the Adirondacks.”

“Please tell me that’s not accurate,” Hawley told Wray.

A sitting Wray with his hands up
The FBI honcho went hiking after ducking out of a US Senate hearing.
Getty Images

Wray argued the hearing wasn’t cut short because “we had agreed beforehand on the time and length of it” before adding: “As to how I fly — I am required, not only permitted but required, to fly on an FBI plane wherever I go.”

“So you were going on vacation?” Hawley interjected.

“I was, yes,” Wray confessed.

“So you’ve left a statutorily required oversight hearing in order to go on a personal vacation in the Adirondacks?” Hawley followed up.

“I took a flight to go visit my family, as had been previously arranged in conjunction with the leadership of the committee,” Wray responded.

“The ranking member, Chuck Grassley asked you during the hearing, he said, ‘I assume you must have other business.’ You said, ‘Yes.’ He then said, ‘If you have a business trip, you’ve got your own plane. Can’t it wait a while?’

“[Grassley] then said,” Hawley continued, “‘We only just heard half an hour ago that now you have to leave. We were going to have a seven-minute round [of questioning], followed by a three-minute round, I’ve got seven people on my side of the aisle [Republicans] … who are waiting for this additional round. Is there any reason we can’t accommodate them for 21 minutes?’ And you said you had a plane to catch, you had somewhere to go, and now we find out it was for vacation?”

Josh Hawley sitting
Hawley grilled Wray about his curiously timed Adirondack vacation.
REUTERS

“The reference to other business was not a reference to that day,” Wray pleaded. “It was a reference to the following week where Sen. Grassley and I were going to see each other in Iowa when I had other business in Iowa and I did in fact see him then.”

“You had to leave a hearing early because you’re gonna see him later in Iowa?” Hawley asked incredulously.

At that August hearing, Wray told Grassley that he couldn’t sit for more questions because “I had had a flight that I’m supposed to be hightailing it to out of here [for].”

When Grassley objected and asked the FBI chief to “wait a while,” Wray answered: “Sorry, to be honest, um, I’ve tried to make my [mid-hearing] break as fast as I could to get right back out here.”

“You took more than five minutes,” Grassley scolded, referring to the allotted break time.

After an intervention by Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who noted Wray was making his “third appearance in two years before this committee,” the FBI director was excused.

Before leaving, Wray shook Grassley’s hand, giving the Iowan one more chance to ask: “So you got other business?”

“Yeah,” Wray answered.

Although Wray maintained he has no choice but to travel on the FBI jet, congressional Republicans argue the plane is intended for counterterrorism purposes.

A jet with trees
Wray told lawmakers the FBI requires him to fly on a government jet wherever he travels.
Andrew W. Sieber via Flickr

More than a week after The Post broke the story that Wray had gone to his family’s vacation home in Saranac Lake, No. 3 House Republican Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and the top Republicans on the House Oversight and Intelligence committees asked Wray to hand over records about his personal use of the jet and reimburse taxpayers for any non-official travel.

“In light of a recent report by the New York Post that you left a Senate hearing early to fly on an FBI aircraft for a personal vacation, we have questions about whether you are properly reimbursing federal taxpayers for your personal travel aboard government aircraft,” Stefanik wrote to Wray, who noted The Post’s report that Wray had used the jet for similar travel in early June of this year.

“Although certain federal officials are permitted to use government aircraft for personal or political use, these expenses must be reimbursed,” she added.

Republicans cannot currently compel Wray to produce such documents, but will be able to do so beginning in January when they retake control of the House.



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