FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray's Senate hearing

What to Expect at the FBI Nominee's Confirmation Hearing

But after FBI Director James Comey testified that the president had demanded his loyalty, and eventually fired him with seven years to go on his 10-year term, safeguarding the independence of the FBI and its ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election became perhaps the most important qualification in a new director.

Wray's responses seemed to satisfy both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee, many of whom signaled their support for him.

One of the questions at the front of senators' minds was whether Wray would be able to act independently of President Trump, especially in light of reports that the president had asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to him. Wray said he was "very committed" to supporting Mueller's investigation, calling him a "consummate straight shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for".

The forms and a letter from Assistant Attorney General Lee Lofthus, a designated ethics official for the Justice Department, were made public ahead of Wray's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

"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.

At the start of his questioning, Graham also pointed out an article from January on Ukraine trying to help the Clinton campaign expose Trump's ties to Russian Federation and question his fitness for office. "My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law".

Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation, signaled Wednesday that he would not let politics get in the way of the FBI's mission.

Wray says simply, "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt". Wray even said it would be "highly unlikely" he would agree to meet Trump in a one-on-one situation, as Comey reluctantly did.

Wray told Graham he would probably want to consult with a legal adviser before doing so.

In advance of Comey's confirmation hearing in 2013, Wray joined nine other former Justice officials in a letter offering effusive support for Comey's nomination. The Justice Department eight days later named Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race to help Trump win and potential collusion between Moscow and Trump associates.

But some Democrats remain concerned about some of his work in George W. Bush's Justice Department, and pressed him on how much he knew about Bush-era torture memos, which he said he hadn't played a role in. "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt", Wray told Graham.

The issue takes on even more significance this week in the wake of revelations that Trump's son, son-in-law and then-campaign manager past year met with a Russian lawyer whom Donald Trump Jr. believed might offer damaging information on Trump's chief Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. "And I sure as heck didn't offer one", he said. "Period", Wray, 50, said in his opening remarks to the committee.

When Christopher Wray hired a new deputy at Justice Department headquarters in the summer of 2003, he issued a warning: There could come a moment when they might have to resign rather than carry out an order that violated their sense of the law. According to financial disclosures, Mr. Wray has made $9.2 million since the beginning of 2016 as a partner with the law firm King & Spalding, where he has spent nearly 12 years with the firm, representing major corporations and also New Jersey's governor, Chris Christie.

Wray was one of 10 former DOJ officials who submitted a letter to the Senate in 2013 that supported Comey's nomination to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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