Legislator Comments on FBI Director Nominee

08 Juin, 2017, 13:38 | Author: Lucrece Courtet
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced his pick for FBI director - a former Justice Department official who served as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's personal lawyer during the George Washington Bridge lane-closing investigation.

The president met last week with candidates for the Federal Bureau of Investigation director post, including Wray, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

The ex-agents also note Wray's background in white-collar crime, with some expecting he could shift resources in that direction.

Wray, now in private practice at King & Spalding, served from 2003 to 2005 at the Justice Department under former president George W. Bush as an assistant attorney general in charge of its criminal division, according to his biography on the law firm's website.

While he spent many years as a government attorney earlier in his career, Wray for the past 12 years has been a white- collar defense lawyer with the Atlanta-based firm of King & Spalding and is now head of its government investigations practice.

On Wednesday, lawmakers will hear from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department who signed a letter recommending Comey's dismissal.

In an early morning two-sentence tweet, Trump said he meant to nominate Christopher Wray, a high-ranking official in George W. Bush's Justice Department who represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal.

Wray said, "We're more known for calmly and quietly diffusing a crisis or making matters go quietly away and keeping things in the middle of the road". Comey has alleged in memos that, before Trump fired him, the president requested his FBI director pledge loyalty and urged him to back off his investigation into former national security director Michael Flynn, people familiar with the memos have said. Robert Mueller briefly worked at two law firms between longer stints in government service before becoming Federal Bureau of Investigation director in 2001. "The vetting of him has to be very intense".

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Thomas O'Connor, president of the FBI Agents Association which endorsed former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., for the job, said the group "looks forward" to meeting with Wray. He adds that Wray would work 20 hours to complete four hours of work.

Wray's selection also highlights an ironic supporting role the then-young Justice Department official played in a 2004 incident that vaulted Comey to national prominence. "Because of all the attention that came with Comey's firing, Wray has a free hand to show his independence because any attempts by the administration to curtail him could be seen again as interference", says Ringel.

There's no more information in the two-sentence tweet that ends, "Details to follow".

If confirmed, Wray will succeed James B. Comey, whom Trump abruptly fired last month amid the Russian Federation investigation. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and some FBI agents anxious that that Trump would try to politicize the bureau.

President Donald Trump will discuss his plans for a $1 trillion overhaul of the nation's crumbling roads, bridges and waterways during a speech in Ohio Wednesday.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said in a series of television interviews that Trump's announcement seemed timed to distract from the two days of potentially explosive hearings. Conaway he wasn't given a heads up and told reporters: "you all surprised me on the way in".

While Wray doesn't have the "range of experiences" that Comey and Mueller before him brought to the FBI, he is "smart, serious, and professional", with a background in federal criminal law, said Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general who worked with Wray during the Bush administration.

While there, he represented Chris Christie in the "Bridgegate" scandal, in which two of the New Jersey governor's aides were convicted.

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