On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump announced that he is nominating attorney Christopher Wray to replace former FBI Director James Comey.
“I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI,” Trump tweeted, adding “Details to follow.”
I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2017
Wray represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie — as his personal attorney — during the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal which involved Christie aides shutting down lanes on the George Washington Bridge — the nation’s busiest bridge — in order to retaliate against a Democratic mayor for refusing to endorse Christie in his 2013 reelection bid.
Wray, a Yale Law School graduate, was appointed to serve as head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush. He left just two years later to join the private sector, working for the law firm of King & Spalding. He has remained a partner in that firm until now.
During his short stint as the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Wray led the investigations into “securities fraud, healthcare fraud, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and trade sanctions violations, bank secrecy and money laundering offenses, public corruption, intellectual property piracy and cybercrime, and RICO,” according to his biography on the King & Spalding website. Perhaps the highest profile case that he led was the representation of the government in the Enron collapse.
Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is set to hear from some top law enforcement and intelligence chiefs on Wednesday, called the move an attempt at distraction by Trump. “It appears the President is trying to change the topic,” Warner told MSNBC, which was among multiple appearances that he made where he made similar statements.
The President has been having a very difficult time finding any qualified individuals to serve in the post with more than ten publicized candidates removing themselves from consideration, as the controversy over former FBI Director James Comey’s firing and the Russia investigation embroils the White House. Recent actions by Trump which have significant undermined his staff and cabinet also have caused concern about the administration’s future recruiting efforts.