Christopher Wray Vows to Remain Independent as FBI Director

FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray testifies on Capitol Hill at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 12. | Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Christopher Wray vowed Wednesday to remain independent of any pressure if he’s confirmed to lead the FBI — pledging to adhere to the “Constitution and the rule of law” as head of the bureau, “no matter the test.”

“If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Full stop.”

Senators are expected to press Wray on whether he will maintain his independence from President Donald Trump, as well as any conversations between him and the president about whether Trump asked for his loyalty. James Comey, who Wray would replace, has said the president asked for his loyalty, a request he rebuffed; a few months later, Trump fired Comey.

“I believe to my core that there is only one right way to do this job,” Wray said later. “And that is with strict independence by the book, playing it straight, faithful to the Constitution, faithful to our laws and faithful to the best practices of the institution, without fear, without favoritism and certainly without regard to any partisan political influence.”

He added, “Anybody who thinks I’d be pulling punches as the FBI director sure doesn’t know me very well.”

Democratic senators are also curious about Wray’s involvement in the counterterrorism policies of the George W. Bush administration, when he was a top official at the Justice Department.

In her opening remarks, Sen. Dianne Feinstein signaled she plans to ask Wray about his role in the controversial Bush-era anti-terror tactics and legal memos written by then DOJ-official John Yoo outlining the basis for using enhanced interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects.

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SOURCE: Politico, Seung Min Kim, Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein