President Donald Trump announced plans to nominate Christopher A. Wray, the former assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, to be the next FBI director.
Trump’s announcement comes one day before former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify in a bombshell hearing before the Senate. “I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning.
Wray headed up the Justice Department’s criminal division from 2003 – 2005 under President George W. Bush, and he is currently a litigation partner at the DC-based law firm King & Spalding, where he chairs the firm’s Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group.
The timing could also be aimed at blunting the impact of Comey’s testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on Thursday. Comey is expected to reject Trump’s claim that he told the President directly he was not under investigation and is also set to describe interactions with Trump that made him uneasy. Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, was skeptical about the timing of Wray’s nomination.
“I think it is more than a little bit curious that the President chose this morning as the time to announce his new FBI head,” Warner said on CNN’s “New Day.” “There will be a time and place to review him. But it seems to me that this is an effort to try to take people’s attention off what is going to be the main event, at least for the next two days: the leaders of our intelligence community and the FBI director.”