FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies at a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs hearing on "Threats to the Homeland" on Capitol Hill in Washington, United States, on September 24, 2020.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters
FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday the office had seen no evidence of widespread election fraud, a claim that undermines President Donald Trump's recent warnings about the integrity of the elections.
"We have seen no coordinated national electoral fraud efforts in the past, whether by mail or otherwise, in major elections," Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.
Wray's remarks come a day after Trump again claimed, without evidence, that mail-in votes are vulnerable to massive fraud, possibly by foreign opponents. The president on Wednesday refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if Democratic candidate Joe Biden wins the November election, citing concerns about the "ballot paper".
Wray told lawmakers the FBI had "from time to time" seen electoral fraud at the local level, but denied the possibility of fraud at the national level.
"Changing a federal election result by using this type of fraud on a large scale would be a major challenge for an opponent," Wray said.
At a White House briefing Thursday, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump's election security concerns: "As Attorney General Barr said, we have never had an election where we held such a mass vote."
Wray also had advice for Americans on dealing with a barrage of disinformation on social media.
"I would encourage people to be critical and get their news from a variety of sources, make their own choices and be a skeptical, discerning electorate, which I believe is the best defense against malicious foreign influence," Wray said .
Last Thursday, Wray warned the committee that Russia is actively meddling in the upcoming US presidential election by spreading misinformation about Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Trump later criticized Wray for his remarks.
Wray on Thursday claimed the FBI would continue to monitor election-related threats and threat actors. "We're breaking new ground," said Wray.
Trump named Wray head of the FBI in 2017 after the president fired former director James Comey.