FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray's Senate hearing

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Christopher Wray, now a private practice lawyer, worked under George W Bush's administration as assistant attorney general in the United States department of justice's criminal division between 2003 and 2005.

After Mr Trump dismissed Mr Comey on May 9, the ex-FBI director said the president had asked him to pledge his loyalty during a dinner at the White House months earlier.

Graham wasn't satisfied with his answer and continued to press him. In considering the Wray nomination, the Senate must ensure that Mueller have full independence to investigate and that Wray not cave to any White House pressure to interfere in any investigation. "Period", Wray, 50, said in his opening remarks to the committee. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., during his confirmation hearing Wednesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, asked Wray what he would do if Trump asked him to take any steps that he believed were illegal.

Wray said no one at the White House had asked that he pledge loyalty to Trump, as Comey said the president demanded of him on January 26.

Now listen to Wray testifying Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee: "No one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process, and I sure as heck didn't offer one". They pointed out that Wray was prepared to resign over a surveillance program controversy in the George W. Bush years - following out the door James Comey, the man he's in line to replace at the FBI, and Robert Mueller, the man leading the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference and its connection to people inside the United States.

Wray first said that he would "consult with the appropriate officials" before communicating with the committee to not risk undermining an investigation.

That's what senators were waiting to hear.

Federal Bureau of Investigation directors are typically nominated for decade-long terms in order to provide some immunity against the partisanship of electoral politics.

"I would be pleased to support him in his mission", Wray said in response to a question from Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Trump's selection of Wray, a former federal prosecutor who enjoys broad bipartisan support, has been viewed as a rare bright spot amid the calamity spurred by the President's firing of Comey in May.

The emails showed the Republican president's son agreeing previous year to meet a woman he was told was a Russian government lawyer who might have damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of Moscow's official support for his father.

Wray hedged, saying he was unfamiliar with the emails, so he wasn't in a position to speak to it.

Graham asked whether the president had the authority to oust Mueller - being that he acknowledged removing Comey in an effort to derail the Russian probe.

"I'm going to vote 'yes, '" Feinstein said as she left the hearing. The FBI nominee obliged.

Bill Mateja, a Dallas attorney who worked with Wray in the Justice Department, predicts "smooth sailing" for Wray's confirmation.

The Yale Law School graduate also helped lead the Justice Department's efforts to address a wave of corporate fraud scandals, overseeing the prosecutions of Enron Corp. and HealthSouth Corp., among other major investigations. Wray already has signed an ethics agreement with the Justice Department.

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