Trump picks former Justice Department official to replace Comey at Federal Bureau of Investigation

08 Juin, 2017, 02:24 | Author: Lucrece Courtet

Law360, Washington (June 7, 2017, 8:47 AM EDT) - President Donald Trump said via Twitter Wednesday that he will nominate King & Spalding LLP partner Christopher A. Wray, a former Bush administration lawyer who later represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the Bridgegate scandal, to become the next director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation after firing former director James Comey in a high-profile episode almost a month ago.

The law firm that Christie's administration hired to review the scandal said it "returned" the phone after reviewing its contents in response to a government subpoena.

Mr Wray has for the past three years represented Mr Christie, keeping his client from criminal charges in the so-called Bridgegate scandal involving politcally-motivated traffic jams which saw two of Mr Christie's... Trump had considered current and former politicians, including former Sen.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last month under intense bipartisan political pressure stemming from the The Times' publication of the reported memo, appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the investigation.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Judiciary panel, said he, too, was encouraged that Trump's pick is a veteran of law enforcement "rather than a career in partisan politics, as was rumored over the past several weeks".

Wray had an initial interview with the Justice Department on May 24 and met with Trump on May 30, the official said.

The timing could also be aimed at blunting the impact of Comeys testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday.

He represented New Jersey governor Chris Christie during the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case.

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Now in private practice, Wray is a partner in the law firm of King & Spalding, overseeing the firm's government investigations practice.

Wray must not take on the director job with the goal of continuing to do "the same old same old". Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., and some FBI agents anxious that Trump would try to politicize the bureau.

Wray's nomination is sure to be caught up by questions from both parties - but especially Democrats - over whether he will be able to be independent of Trump, how he will handle the investigation into Russia's election meddling and how he will interact with Mueller.

House Speaker Paul Ryan was asked about the pick this morning.

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.

"As the key stakeholder in this process, it is critically important that the FBIAA understands his views on the Federal Bureau of Investigation, special agents, and the criminal and natiContributing: Eliza Collinsonal security threats that agents combat daily, " O'Connor said. Conaway he wasn't given a heads up and told reporters: "you all surprised me on the way in".

The Virginia Democrat emphasized the troubling "pattern" he sees in the Russian Federation probe and discussed news reports that Trump sought to pressure senior intelligence officials related to the investigation.

"We've had reports as recently as yesterday that maybe even a few times, the President tried to intervene with Director Coats to ask him to either downplay or dismiss the FBI investigation into contacts between Trump officials (and Russia)", Warner said. Two former Christie aides were convicted of plotting to close bridge lanes to punish a Democratic mayor who would not endorse the Republican governor.

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