LIVE STREAM: FBI Director Confirmation Hearing. Christopher Wray testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on his nomination to be the next FBI director. If Senate Republicans get their way, former Justice Department lawyer Christopher Wray will soon become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Confirmation hearings for Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director, are set to begin Wednesday, just over two months following the firing of James Comey — a move that set off a sequence of events that amplified the investigation into Russian meddling into last year’s presidential election, and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. Wray, an assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush who currently works as a lawyer in private practice, was nominated by Trump in June to lead the bureau. Trump dismissed Comey in May, later saying he was thinking about the FBI’s Russia investigation when he made the decision. The action is now being reviewed by Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller as an of obstruction of justice, according to reports. Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, recently told reporters he hopes the nomination will “not languish” and said it’s his plan to get Wray confirmed before the August congressional recess. But before any votes take place, Wray will have to face a series of questions about his background — and his backbone. 1. Will you be loyal to the justice system or to the president?
Lawmakers from both political parties said they plan to ask Wray about his independence from the White House, and whether President Donald Trump has asked him for loyalty.
FBI Director Nominee Christopher Wray Could Help Steady The Bureau Amid Turmoil
Politics FBI Director Nominee Christopher Wray Could Help Steady The Bureau Amid Turmoil
That’s always a sensitive issue when it comes to federal law enforcement. But after FBI Director James Comey testified that the president had demanded his loyalty, and eventually fired him with seven years to go on his 10-year term, safeguarding the independence of the FBI and its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election became perhaps the most important qualification in a new director.
2. Speaking of Russia, your law firm, King & Spalding, has represented clients in that country. Please describe your involvement.
In a dozen years of private law practice, Wray has built up a long list of clients, from major banks and corporations to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. His law firm, King & Spalding, has represented Russian oil interests. But lawyers there said Wray had no involvement with those Russian clients. Wray already has signed an ethics agreement with the Justice Department. That paperwork tallied Wray’s annual takeaway from the law firm partnership at $9 million.
3. During your tenure at the Justice Department, after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, you were part of a team protecting national security. The American Civil Liberties Union says your name appears 29 times in documents it gathered through the Freedom of Information Act. What was your involvement in the detainee interrogation program and what did you do about abuses?
David Cole, the national legal director of the ACLU, said Wray’s responses to notices about mistreatment have been redacted, so it’s not clear what, if anything, he did about the problems. Cole pointed out that some of the biggest pushback to that program came from inside the FBI, which pulled its agents out of the facility at Guantanamo Bay. “Are we putting at the head of the FBI somebody who has been a yes-man to programs that raise very serious civil liberties and human rights concerns?” Cole asked.