Federal Bureau of Investigation nominee: Russian Federation probe not a 'witch hunt'

Aaron Brown
July 13, 2017

Christopher Wray, now a private practice lawyer, worked under George W Bush's administration as assistant attorney general in the USA department of justice's criminal division between 2003 and 2005. The administration also conducted warrantless electronic surveillance inside the US, another practice which has since been banned.

Sen. Linsday Graham (R-S.C.) questioned Federal Bureau of Investigation director nominee Christopher Wray about the recent news surrounding Donald Trump Jr. on July 12, and criticized the president's son for not calling the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"There's been a lot of contentious times", Wray replied, "But this one is certainly up there".

OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: As head of the Justice Department's criminal division, Wray oversaw major criminal prosecutions - such as the special task force investigating the Enron collapse - and he also helped shape the USA government's legal response to terrorism and national security threats after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"Thank you Senator, that means a lot", Wray said.

"In some situations, yes", Wray said.

Mr Wray said it was "highly unlikely" that he would meet with Mr Trump alone if asked. Leon Neyfakh at Slate argued that Wray is basically another Comey, and that would make sense since they worked together at the Department of Justice.

Last month, the Senate judiciary committee released last month a comprehensive, 68-page questionnaire that Wray had filled out.

"Wray should explain what he knew about detainee abuses, when he knew about them, what actions he did or did not take and why", said Laura Pitter, senior US national security counsel for Human Rights Watch. "No one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath and I sure as heck didn't offer one".

Wray repeatedly vowed independence, saying he would be "faithful to the Constitution". "And that is with strict independence".

Federal Bureau of Investigation director nominee Christopher Wray says he would lead the agency "without fear, without favoritism and certainly without regard to political influence".

Would you stand up to the president if necessary?

Senator Patrick Leahy asked Wray what he would do if the president asked him to do something unlawful.

"First, I would try to talk him out of it", Wray stated.

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"Mr. Wray, I have been very impressed with our meeting".

What should you do if you lose confidence in the Attorney General?

Graham pointed to Comey's news conference in which he announced he would not recommend charges against Hillary Clinton over her private email server. Wray eventually said he would not have done either of those things.

Wray may get a few Bridgegate questions along the way too, although he won't be able to answer in depth, as Chris Christie was his client in that case. "I agree with you".

Graham asked Wray whether "witch hunt" was a fair description of the probe by Mueller. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said Wray "looks like he's well credentialed", while Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, said, "I hear he had a good reputation".

"I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt", Wray said, after being pressed.

He later continued, "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt".

During an exchange with Sen.

"My friends to this day, they taught me much about playing it straight and following the facts wherever they may lead".

What about the F.B.I.'s Russian Federation investigation?

The grinding work ethic, associates said, is strikingly similar to the distinctive style - or lack of it - that Mueller brought to the same post he held for 12 years, the longest-serving director since J.Edgar Hoover. Sessions recused himself from involvement in the Russia probe after he initially failed to disclose contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election campaign.

King & Spalding has also been scrutinized for their representation of Russian interests amid allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the 2016 election. He said Comey's decision to leak notes he took about their meetings to the media was illegal, though it is still not clear if the material was classified.

On the alleged conversation between President Trump's son Donald and a Russian lawyer, Wray said it was something the "FBI would want to know about". Their concerns come after Trump is said to have asked former Director James Comey for a loyalty pledge before firing him in May.

The revelations prompted the Justice Department to appoint Mueller as a special counsel.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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