President Trump on Wednesday announced that he would nominate Chris Wray to be the next FBI director. Here's what you need to know about the man who could lead the federal government's law enforcement branch.
He served under George W. Bush
Wray was assistant attorney general in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration. From 2003 to 2005, he headed the department's criminal division. He also was a member of the administration's Corporate Fraud Task Force and oversaw the fraud prosecutions of former executives at Enron Corp.
He knows James Comey
During his time at the Justice Department, Wray intervened in a White House effort to persuade Attorney General Ashcroft to reauthorize a secret warrantless surveillance program in his hospital room. He later ran into Comey, then deputy attorney general, in a Justice Department corridor. At the time, rumors were swirling that top officials were preparing to hand in their resignations over the White House's actions.
According to the book Angler, Wray told Comey, “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but before your guys all pull the rip cords, please give me a heads-up so I can jump with you."
He's Chris Christie's personal attorney
When Wray left the Justice Department in 2005, he went into private practice with the law firm King & Spalding. He is a personal attorney for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a major Trump supporter. The two met while they were both at Justice, Wray as deputy attorney general and Christie as a U.S. attorney.
As a personal attorney for Christie, Wray has represented the governor as the the George Washington Bridge lane-closure controversy played out. Back in 2013, two Christie associates created gridlock in Fort Lee, N.J., to punish the town's mayor for not endorsing Christie for re-election. According to prosecutors during the trial of those associates, Christie knew of the scandal while it was taking place. Christie was never charged in the scandal.
He has already won support for his potential new job
Christie voiced his support for Wray last week, before news of his nomination was official: "I have the utmost confidence in Chris. He's an outstanding lawyer. 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."
Also on board with his selection: Ken Wainstein, former chief of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and Jack Goldsmith, a former assistant attorney general who worked with Wray during the Bush administration.
“Chris Wray has an excellent record of public service,’’ said Wainstein, who also had been a candidate for the top FBI job. “He has seen the job and the Justice Department in all its missions. He was a line prosecutor. And he oversaw the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in the aftermath of 9/11, which is critical to deal with the counterterrorism challenges that exist now.’’
Contributing: Kevin Johnson and David Jackson, USA TODAY; Dustin Racioppi, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record
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