Trump to nominate ex-Justice Department official to lead Federal Bureau of Investigation

Frederick Owens
June 8, 2017

Trump said he knows Wray will "again serve his country as a fierce guardian of the law and model of integrity" if confirmed by the Senate.

President Trump will nominate former Justice Department official Christopher Wray for FBI director to replace James Comey, who was abruptly fired last month as he conducted an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation.

Wray, a former assistant attorney general overseeing the criminal division under President George W. Bush, is likely to allay the fears of Federal Bureau of Investigation agents who anxious that Trump would try to weaken or politicize the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Wray is chair of King & Spalding's special matters and government investigations practice group, which represents clients in white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters.

Wray represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during his "Bridgegate" trial.

Wray graduated from Yale University in 1989 and also attended law school there, serving as an executive editor of the Yale Law Journal and earning his law degree in 1992.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Wray, saying his "impressive credentials make him more than ready for the sober task of leading the Federal Bureau of Investigation in fulfilling its law enforcement and national security missions, especially at a time when our country faces so many serious threats both at home and overseas". According to their site, King & Spalding is an global law firm with more than 900 lawyers and has worked on cases in 160 countries.

Wray headed the department's criminal division in the Bush administration and oversaw investigations into corporate fraud. Wray had an initial interview with the Justice Department on May 24 and met with Trump on May 30, the official said.

A 2015 letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee co-signed by Wray praises Yates for her "extraordinary legal skill and judgment".

"The acting Attorney General, Sally Yates, has betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order created to protect the citizens of the United States", White House press secretary Sean Spicer said at the time. Then in 1997, he joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the northern district of Georgia. "And he oversaw the Justice Department's Criminal Division in the aftermath of 9/11, which is critical to deal with the counterterrorism challenges that exist now". And Ryan says that Wray - a lawyer who served in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush - "certainly seems to fit that bill".

The timing of Trump's announcement appeared to be an effort to redirect attention on the eve Comey's testimony before the Senate intelligence committee. Trump had tweeted regarding the new appointment where he called Wray "a man of impeccable credentials" and said details of the nomination will follow. In May of 2001, he rose to become an associate deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Mr Trump did not consult him on his choice of Mr Wray.

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