President Donald Trump will nominate Christopher A. Wray to be the next director of the FBI, he announced on Wednesday.
Wray served as assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005. The Yale Law School graduate now works as an attorney in private practice.
Wray represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in the wake of the so-called Bridgegate scandal. Christie told NorthJersey.com that he had “the utmost confidence in Chris.”
“He’s an outstanding lawyer,” Christie said. “He has absolute integrity and honesty, and I think that the president certainly would not be making a mistake if he asked Chris Wray to be FBI director.”
Wray’s name came up in a 2008 Justice Department Inspector General report on allegations of politicized hiring in the Attorney General’s Honors Program and Summer Law Intern Program. The hiring process, the report concluded, was “fundamentally changed” to give political appointees more input. Data showed that applicants with Democratic or liberal affiliations were “deselected at a significantly higher rate” than candidates with conservative or neutral affiliations. Wray told the IG that politics and ideology only came up as part of an effort to make the programs more inclusive.
He said there was a perception that in past administrations the career employees doing the screening may have weeded out candidates because the selecting officials were not ‘comfortable with their political persuasion.’ He said the political persuasion he was referring to pertained to candidates who had been in the military or law enforcement, ‘whether you call that conservative or not.’
Wray was interviewed for the job last week, the White House said. Trump was also said to have considered politicians including Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and, mostly notably, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.). He appeared to reverse course following pushback from Democrats.
The president fired former FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, last month. Andrew McCabe, who started with the FBI in 1996 and served as deputy director under Comey, was named the acting director at the time.
Comey is set to testify in front of the Senate on Thursday.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.