The Senate confirmed Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump’s nominee to succeed James Comey, as director of the FBI on Tuesday on a 92-5.
The overwhelming vote was not particularly surprising, as lawmakers of both parties have lauded Wray’s qualifications and abilities in recent weeks. The only dissenting votes came from five Democratic senators who have opposed almost every nominee submitted by President Trump as a matter of course.
Wray has been a partner in the Washington offices of King & Spalding since he left government service in 2005. Prior to entering private practice, he was assistant attorney general for the criminal division at the Department of Justice (DOJ) during the George W. Bush administration. He was among the DOJ officials that were prepared to resign, given their ongoing discomfort with the Bush administration’s domestic surveillance programs.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously confirmed his nomination after a fairly short and uneventful confirmation hearing, during which Wray affirmed his commitment to the Bureau’s independence and expressed support for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
“Beyond credentials, I believe Mr. Wray has the right view of the job,” said GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who chairs the committee.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the committee, expressed confidence that Wray has the fortitude to maintain the FBI’s integrity.
“We need leaders with steel spines, not weak knees, and I am hopeful that Mr. Wray will be just such a leader,” she said.
Wray assumes command of the FBI at a challenging time. The Bureau is still reeling internally after its investigations of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton prompted allegations of influence-peddling, and the president’s abrupt dismissal of Comey left career employees disillusioned with the agency.
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