Trump's Federal Bureau of Investigation director nominee, Christopher Wray testifies in Senate hearing

Marsha Scott
July 13, 2017

Trump's pick, Christopher Wray, will step into a precarious job if confirmed to succeed James Comey, who was sacked by the president in May after increasing frustration over a federal probe into Russia's election-meddling and possible links to Trump associates.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was the first to bring up the recent controversy regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s emails relating to his meeting with a Russian lawyer past year. Wray deflected specific questions from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about the president's son's emails, saying he had not read them.

That's a direct rebuke of President Trump's repeated claims - made as recently as Wednesday morning - that the investigation into whether his team colluded with Russian Federation is a "witch hunt", even in the wake of the release of emails showing his own son set up a meeting with a Kremlin-tied attorney offering information about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.

When he became USA attorney in Atlanta, Alexander hired Wray as a federal prosecutor, working under Sally Yates - who would go on to become a deputy attorney general in the Obama Justice Department and acting attorney general under President Trump.

Christopher Wray, a former top Justice Department official who Trump nominated for the Federal Bureau of Investigation post in June, repeatedly indicated that he was not up to date on the latest revelations about the meeting.

Wray has worked at the Atlanta law firm for almost 12 years, representing major corporations and also New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie, who was involved in the so-called "Bridgegate" affair and who recently made the headlines for sunning himself on a public beach that he had closed via a government shutdown. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement when Wray's nomination was announced last month by Trump.

"I would consider an effort to tamper with director Mueller's investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly and appropriately", Wray said. "This is under very extraordinary circumstances, and I thank you for your willingness to take on this job, and looking around, I'm feeling that you've had a good hearing today, and best of luck to you".

Thompson said he can not imagine Wray ever giving a news conference, as Comey did, to announce the closing of the Clinton email investigation and then discussing it at length.

"That was not only an important case in its own right but sent a message about the criminal division's intolerance for that kind of conduct", Wray said.

"My commitment is to the rule of law, to the constitution, where ever they may lead", said Wray.

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"And I as sure as heck didn't offer one", Wray said.

After his firing, Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee that Trump asked him to drop the FBI's investigation into Gen. Michael Flynn, the president's former national security adviser who resigned under pressure over his communications with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Wray was nominated after Comey was sacked two months ago. Leon Neyfakh at Slate argued that Wray is basically another Comey, and that would make sense since they worked together at the Department of Justice.

Wray says simply, "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt". "And if that failed, I would resign", Wray replied.

Former FBI director Robert Mueller has been appointed independent prosecutor to oversee the investigation into any improper Russian involvement in last year's election.

Wray was not among the first short list of names suggested to replace Comey, but several higher profile candidates withdrew from consideration.

Noting the FBI investigated former Secretary of State Clinton's unclassified email server, Hatch asked Wray how he would handle the disclosing of top-secret information.

If confirmed as its next director, Wray's mission would be to bring stability to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its more than 35,000 employees.

The letters, listed in his questionnaire submitted to the Judiciary Committee, show his relationships among former top Justice Department officials who are part of the expansive cast of characters in the Russian investigation.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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