President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that he will nominate Christopher A. Wray, former assistant attorney general, for FBI Director.
Wray was assistant attorney general overseeing the criminal division during former President George W. Bush’s tenure, from 2003 to 2005, and was confirmed unanimously by the Senate. He played leading roles in the Department of Justice’s response to the 9/11 attacks and the Enron Task Force, and served under ousted FBI Director James Comey, who also left the department in 2005.
Wray is currently a partner at the law firm King & Spalding, and he chairs the firm’s Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group. The group specializes in defending companies and individuals accused of white-collar crime, according to the firm’s website.
It’s not the first time Trump has looked at employees of King & Spalding for key posts – Bobby Burchfield, another partner at the firm, is an adviser to the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, which holds the president’s business assets, according to Newsweek. Trump also nominated partner Gilbert Kaplan for under secretary of commerce for international trade. Dan Coats, Trump’s director of national intelligence, once worked at the firm.
Wray represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case, according to the Associated Press, in which two aides were convicted of plotting to close bridge lanes in order to punish a Democratic mayor who would not endorse the Republican governor. Christie himself was not charged in the scandal.
Trump abruptly fired Comey in early May. Comey is scheduled to testify before a Congressional panel on Thursday, and is expected to weigh in on Trump’s interactions with Comey leading up to his firing.
Memos written by Comey prior to his firing say Trump requested Comey drop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s foreign ties, particularly Russia. Trump has said that he fired Comey partially because of the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump administration originally said Comey was fired due to mishandling the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Wray’s nomination concludes a whrilwind search for someone to replace Comey that has seen multiple candidates remove their own names from consideration.