On the eve of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee about alleged Russian tampering in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump has named a replacement for the man he abruptly fired.
Trump on Wednesday nominated Christopher Wray, a former federal prosecutor who led the Justice Department’s criminal division under the George W. Bush administration, to take the helm at the bureau. Wray, a Yale Law alum described by Trump as “a man of impeccable credentials,” was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s personal attorney during the “Bridgegate” controversy that came to light in 2013.
I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2017
Here’s a quick overview of Wray and what has to happen before he gets the job:
—Wray, 48, currently works at the powerhouse law firm King & Spalding, where he connected with Christie during the investigation into allegations that the governor closed lanes on the George Washington Bridge as payback against a political foe. Two ex-Christie aides were convicted of wrongdoing in the case but the governor emerged unscathed.
—The FBI director serves a 10-year term, and his nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.
—The New York Times called Wray “a safe, mainstream pick,” who may put the FBI’s rank and file at ease about concerns that Trump “would try to weaken or politicize the FBI” by picking a politician or crony to replace Comey. Comey was fired on May 9.
—King & Spalding is based in Atlanta, and Wray began his career as an attorney in 1993. He later served from 1997-2001 as an assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta. He was confirmed by the Senate in 2003 to be an assistant attorney general under George W. Bush and served in that capacity until 2005, when he returned to King & Spalding as a partner. He chairs the firm’s special matters and government investigations practice group.
—A profile of Wray from the Atlanta-Journal Constitution says that on his first day at the Justice Department, he was tasked with sorting out “how the FBI misplaced files in the trial of Timothy McVeigh,” the Oklahoma City bomber. He also helped coordinate the investigation into the Washington, D.C.–area snipers in 2002, brought indictments against executives at Enron, and prosecuted several terror cells that operating in the U.S.