President Trump took to twitter this morning to announce that he will nominate Christopher Wray to serve as the new FBI director. “I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow,” Trump tweeted. The announcement comes just one day before former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify about Trump’s attempts to curtail the FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.
Wray oversaw the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005, working directly under Comey, then the United States Deputy Attorney General. Wray left the FBI in 2005 to join King & Spalding, where he chaired the firm’s Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group. Wray’s private practice centered on defending corporations and executives in white-collar criminal and regulatory investigations. Notably, Wray represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a prominent Trump ally, during the “Bridgegate” investigation into lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
Although Wray’s credentials are consistent with those of previous FBI directors, several Senate Democrats have already expressed skepticism over his sudden nomination. Trump’s announcement came as a surprise to many in Congress, including Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley. On CNN this morning, Senator Mark Warner stated that it was “more than a little bit curious” that Trump announced the decision on the eve of Comey’s testimony. “There will be a time and place to review [Wray]. But it seems to me that this is an effort to try to take people’s attention off what is going to be the main event, at least for the next two days: the leaders of our intelligence community and the FBI director,” Warner stated.
Still, the nomination may come as a relief to those who feared that Trump would nominate a partisan Republican to the position, which would have risked further politicizing the agency.
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