Se­nate con­firms Trump’s choice, Wray, to lead the FBI in 92-5 vote

Austin American-Statesman - - STATESMAN AT THE LEGISLATURE - By Donna Cassata

The Se­nate over­whelm­ingly con­firmed Christo­pher Wray to lead the FBI, re­plac­ing James Comey, who was abruptly fired by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump amid the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian med­dling in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

The vote was 92-5 for Wray, a for­mer high-rank­ing of­fi­cial in Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s Jus­tice Depart­ment who over­saw in­ves­ti­ga­tions into cor­po­rate fraud. Wray, 50, in­her­its the FBI at a par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing time given Trump’s oust­ing of Comey, who was ad­mired within the bureau.

“This is a tough time to take this tough job,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said. “The pre­vi­ous FBI di­rec­tor, as we know, was fired be­cause of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The for­mer act­ing at­tor­ney general was fired. And we’ve had a slew of other fir­ings through­out the gov­ern­ment over the last few months.”

Repub­li­can Sen. Ben Sasse of Ne­braska said: “Chris Wray will bring char­ac­ter and com­pe­tence to a city that is hem­or­rhag­ing pub­lic trust.”

Wray won unan­i­mous sup­port from the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee last month, with Repub­li­cans and Democrats prais­ing his prom­ise never to let pol­i­tics get in the way of the bureau’s mis­sion.

As­sert­ing his in­de­pen­dence at his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, Wray said: “My loy­alty is to the Con­sti­tu­tion and the rule of law. Those have been my guide­posts through­out my ca­reer, and I will con­tinue to ad­here to them no mat­ter the test.”

Trump roiled Wash­ing­ton on May 9 by fir­ing Comey in the midst of his 10-year term as the FBI chief and as the law en­force­ment agency was in­ves­ti­gat­ing Rus­sia’s pos­si­ble ties to Trump cam­paign of­fi­cials.

An­drew McCabe has served as act­ing FBI di­rec­tor dur­ing the in­terim pe­riod.

Wray has worked on white-col­lar crime and reg­u­la­tory cases as a part­ner at the King & Spald­ing law firm. From May 2001 to May 2005, he held var­i­ous high-rank­ing po­si­tions in the Jus­tice Depart­ment, ris­ing to the head of the crim­i­nal di­vi­sion in Sep­tem­ber 2003. He was a fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor in the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice for the North­ern District of Ge­or­gia from May 1997 to May 2001. Wray had rep­re­sented New Jer­sey Gov. Chris Christie in the so-called Bridge­gate scan­dal. Wray is a grad­u­ate of Yale Univer­sity, where he also re­ceived his law de­gree in 1992.

Vot­ing against the nom­i­na­tion were five Democrats: Kirsten Gil­li­brand of New York, El­iz­a­beth War­ren and Ed Markey of Mas­sachusetts, and Ron Wy­den and Jeff Merkley of Ore­gon.

ALEX EDEL­MAN / ZUMA PRESS

Christo­pher Wray, who won unan­i­mous sup­port from the Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee on July 12, was con­firmed by the Se­nate on Aug. 1 as FBI di­rec­tor. Wray re­places James Comey, whom the pres­i­dent fired.

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