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Trump's nominee for Federal Bureau of Investigation director vows to keep agency impartial

13 July 2017

Wray, 50, a former top official in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush from 2003 to 2005, was nominated by President Donald Trump on June 7 to lead the domestic security agency after Trump abruptly fired the previous director, James Comey.

Wednesday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee will look into his legal career and any other ties Wray may have to the White House. In his opening statement, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) reminded everyone that, yes, Federal Bureau of Investigation directors are approved by the Senate to serve for 10 years, but the president has unilateral authority to fire them at any time.

"First, I would try to talk him out of it", Wray stated. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

Wray says simply, "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt".

While Wray praised former FBI Director Comey at moments during the hearing, he also offered some implied criticism of Comey for his public comments on the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). 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.

Wray added that he would consider any effort to tamper with Mueller's investigation "unacceptable and inappropriate", and said it would need to be dealt with "very sternly". Senators asked what role he played in controversial counterterrorism programs put in place by President George W. Bush's administration after the September 11 attacks, including waterboarding.

The president tweeted Wednesday morning that the investigation, which includes probing allegations of collusion between Russian Federation and Trump's campaign, "is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history". Wray said that no such demand had been made of him.

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Feinstein pressed Wray on the extent to which he was involved in the "Torture Memos", which were drafted by then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and signed August 2002 by Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee.

Trump has repeatedly derided that investigation and other probes, using such words as "hoax" and "witch hunt".

Mr Wray also said he would attempt to work with Justice Department to ensure "it's not a one-on-one meeting".

Wray is appearing in front of one of the at least four congressional committees looking into Russian interference in the election, just as Trump Jr.'s meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya has reignited questions about the Trump campaign's involvement.

Trump shared highly classified information with Russians; Wray says it'd be extremely risky to share classified information that could put US sources overseas at risk. Lindsey Graham about revelations that Trump's son's met with a Russian lawyer during last year's presidential campaign. "Is that a fair description of what we're all dealing with in America?"

Comey told lawmakers he leaked a memo outlining the Flynn request after Trump suggested that he had tapes of their meetings, in the hope that it "might prompt the appointment of a special counsel".

He also told Democratic Sen.

Trump's nominee for Federal Bureau of Investigation director vows to keep agency impartial