Senators back FBI nominee Wray
WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination of President Donald Trump’s pick to head the FBI.
Christopher Wray’s nomination will now move to the Senate floor. The former Justice Department official won unanimous support from the panel, with senators from both parties praising his promise at his hearing last week never to let politics get in the way of the bureau’s mission.
“Beyond credentials, I believe Mr. Wray has the right view of the job,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
Wray would replace James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May during an investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump’s campaign. The Judiciary Committee is also investigating Russian interference and will hear from Trump officials next week at a hearing.
In discussion before the vote, Democrats said Wray has the qualifications and independence to lead the bureau.
The top Democrat on the panel, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, said Wray “has the strength and fortitude to stand up and do what it is right when tested.”
She added: “We need leaders with steel spines, not weak knees, and I am hopeful that Mr. Wray will be just such a leader.”
Wray, 50, would inherit the FBI at a particularly challenging time given the firing of Comey, who was admired within the bureau. At his hearing last week, Wray exhibited his low-key, disciplined style. He stressed that “anybody who thinks that I would be pulling punches as FBI director sure doesn’t know me very well.”
When Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said at the hearing that he was disturbed by Comey’s firing, Wray assured senators that “no one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process, and I sure as heck didn’t offer one.”
Comey has testified that Trump asked him for a loyalty pledge during a private dinner before his dismissal.
Wray also broke with Trump on the merits of the Russia investigation, saying he does not believe a special counsel’s investigation amounts to a “witch hunt,” as Trump has asserted.
Wray said at the hearing that his loyalty is to the Constitution, the rule of law and the mission of the FBI.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa (left) confers Thursday with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., at the panel’s hearing on Christopher Wray, the nominee to lead the FBI.