President Donald Trump Monday formally nominated Christopher Wray to succeed James Comey, who he fired in May, as director of the FBI.
The FBI director serves a 10-year term. The Senate must confirm Trump’s nomination.
“I am proud to announce Christopher as my choice as the Director of the FBI. During his previous service at the Department of Justice, Christopher was the leader of major fraud investigations, and was a key part of the team overseeing the Justice Department’s actions in the war on terrorism following the 9/11 attacks,” Trump said earlier this month when he announced his intent to nominate Wray for the post.
“He is an impeccably qualified individual, and I know that he will again serve his country as a fierce guardian of the law and model of integrity once the Senate confirms him to lead the FBI,” Trump said.
Wray, 50, led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005, and is currently an private attorney.
“I am honored and humbled to be nominated by the president to lead the FBI, the premier law enforcement organization in the world,” Wray said in a statement.
“From my earliest days working with agents as a line prosecutor to my time working with them at the Department of Justice in the aftermath of 9/11, I have been inspired by the men and women of the FBI – inspired by their professionalism, integrity, courage, and sacrifice for the public,” he said.
“If confirmed, it will be a privilege and honor to once again work with them. America faces grave threats both here and abroad, and the FBI, in concert with its federal, state, and local partners continues to work steadfastly to prevent and hold accountable those responsible for these threats. I look forward to the confirmation process, and pledge my complete commitment to fairly and honorably protecting our country and upholding our Constitution and laws,” he added.
If confirmed, Wray would not oversee the investigation into alleged connections between Russia and The Trump campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller is currently heading that probe.
Democrats were cautious when Wray was first announced as Trump’s pick to succeed Comey.
“Christopher Wray knows the Justice Department, is not a politician, and has a background in federal law enforcement,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., said when Wray’s selection was first was announced.
“Above all, he will need to show his commitment to protecting the bureau’s independence. That independence is more important than ever given the inevitable conflicts with the interests of the man who sits in the Oval Office.”
Others have said Wray will provide the leadership the FBI needs.
“Chris is super smart, a great lawyer and highly experienced,” said Larry Thompson, a former deputy attorney general in the George W. Bush administration. “He will serve the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation well. I worked with Chris for a number of years and always had complete confidence in him. He simply doesn’t make mistakes.”
According to his Justice Department biography, Wray, a graduate of Yale Law School, joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1997, working in Georgia.
In 2001, Wray came to Washington as an associate deputy attorney general and, later, as principal associate deputy attorney general. In 2003, Wray was appointed assistant attorney general in charge of the DOJ’s Criminal Division. Wray left the Justice Department in 2005 and returned to private practice.
Wray is a partner at King & Spalding. Gilbert Kaplan, another partner at that firm, was nominated by Trump to serve as undersecretary of commerce for international trade. Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, also once worked at the firm.
Wray also represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the “Bridgegate” scandal.
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