President Trump’s sudden ouster of FBI Director James Comey in May set off a legal and political conflagration that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel. The confirmation process for Christopher Wray, Trump’s chosen replacement for Comey, could not have been less controversial by comparison, says the Atlantic. The Senate voted to confirm Wray, a former federal prosecutor, in a 92-5 vote on Tuesday. Though he ultimately will answer to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director himself, on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Wray will oversee the bureau’s role in the sprawling federal probe.
His leadership will inevitably come under close scrutiny, given the tempestuous moment in American politics and the fate of his predecessor. During his confirmation hearing, Wray strongly distanced himself from the president and said he would uphold the bureau’s independence. Lawmakers emphasized the latter point during their questioning. “If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period. Full stop,” he told members of the Judiciary Committee. “My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law.” He also publicly defended Mueller’s integrity, declaring him “the consummate straight shooter.”