President Trump says he has chosen Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official during President George W. Bush’s administration, to head the FBI. Wray now works on white collar crime at an international law firm.
The president named his pick via Twitter, writing Wednesday morning, “I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.”
The announcement comes one day before ousted FBI Director James Comey is scheduled to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Trump fired Comey in May and has been interviewing candidates to succeed him.
Among Wray’s credentials is a stint as the assistant attorney general leading the Justice Department’s criminal division, from 2003 to 2005. In that post, he worked under attorneys general John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales — as well as under Comey, who was then the deputy attorney general.
Wray has been in private practice since then, working on white-collar crime and regulatory cases as a partner in the Washington, D.C., and Atlanta offices of the King & Spalding.
He has recently been involved in representing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the “Bridgegate” case over politically motivated lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.
The Asbury Park Press reports that Christie and Wray previously worked together during the Bush administration, when Christie was a U.S. attorney and Wray was a deputy attorney general.
“I have the utmost confidence in Chris,” Christie told the Press last week. “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.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the choice, saying, “Chris Wray is an extraordinary person, possessing all the gifts necessary to be a great director of the FBI.”
Stating that Wray has “a brilliant legal mind,” Sessions added, “We are fortunate that he is willing to make this personal commitment to serve his country at this important time.”