FBI Director Nominee Says He “Sure as Heck Didn’t Offer” a Loyalty Pledge
President Donald Trump’s nominee to direct the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Christopher Wray, testified this week at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Wray would replace former FBI Director James Comey, whose contentious firing prompted allegations of impropriety and fueled an ongoing investigation into potential obstruction of justice.
During the hearing, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) asked Wray whether he believed the investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller, the former FBI Director who was appointed by the Department of Justice to lead the investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, was a “witch hunt” – a term used by the president to describe the investigation. After seemingly attempting to avoid answering the question, Wray conceded that he did not believe Mueller was on a witch hunt, and reiterated his positive impression of Mueller, based on their interactions.
Mueller’s investigation was perhaps the most touched upon theme in the confirmation hearing. Wray testified that he had not been asked to pledge loyalty to the president, and that he “sure as heck didn’t offer” a pledge of loyalty, also stating that, if he were asked to improperly drop an investigation, he would resist and, if necessary, resign.
Wray vowed that his loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law.” And that he would not allow his work to be driven by “anything other than the law, the facts and the impartial pursuit of justice.”
When asked how he would respond to efforts to impede Mueller’s investigation, Wray said he “would consider an effort to tamper with Director Mueller’s investigation unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly, indeed.”
Wray seemed to depart from Comey somewhat, when asked how he felt about Comey’s handling of the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. Wray said he “can’t imagine a situation where, as FBI director, I would be giving a press conference on an uncharged individual, much less talking in detail about it.”
Representatives of both parties seemed generally pleased with Wray’s performance in the hearing. The timeline for next steps is now up to the Senate and remains unclear. Newsweek noted that “in the post-Hoover era, the average length of time between the nomination and confirmation of a director has been 20 days.”
Posted in General News