Donald Trump's pick for FBI director, Christopher Wray, has been confirmed by the Senate. The former federal prosecutor replaces the acting director, Andrew McCabe, who was standing in after the president fired James Comey amid an investigation into the Trump administration's potential ties to Russia.
The Senate voted 92-5 to confirm Wray's appointment to the position. He seems to be a fairly bipartisan pick, having stressed during his confirmation hearing that he would not "pledge loyalty" to the president, as Comey was reportedly asked to do. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the leading Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, told Politico, "I'm very satisfied that Mr. Wray has the qualifications and independence necessary to lead the FBI."
Now Wray enters the bureau at a tumultuous time, as the investigation into whether President Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who preceded Comey at the bureau's helm, is overseeing that investigation as special counsel.
In 2001, Wray was an associate deputy U.S. attorney general for the Justice Department. President George W. Bush later appointed him to become the assistant attorney general for the DOJ's criminal division, where he oversaw a team of more than 90 lawyers in post-9/11 America. Monique Roth, Wray's senior counsel at the department, told Newsweek, "He understood that what he was doing was bigger than himself and bigger than whoever got him into that job."
The one controversy that has haunted Wray as his nomination for FBI director was considered was his representation of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the Bridgegate scandal. Wray was recently working as a partner at Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding LLP, and during that time he served as Christie's criminal attorney for the federal corruption allegations. This raised a few eyebrows, as he was paid with taxpayer dollars, but he reportedly did not sign a retainer agreement until nearly a year after he started working for Christie, meaning the taxpayers did not know about it.
As FBI director, Wray will serve a 10-year term. And considering the controversy surrounding the department at the moment, for now, as Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal put it, his most important job "will be to protect the special counsel investigation."