President Donald Trump's pick to lead the FBI faces a confirmation hearing Wednesday that will undoubtedly focus on the political tumult surrounding his nomination, with both Democrats and Republicans seeking assurances of his independence from the White House.
Christopher Wray, 50, would inherit the nation's top law enforcement agency at a particularly challenging time. Trump abruptly fired predecessor James Comey, who was widely admired within the agency, during its investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election and potential coordination with the Trump campaign.
Wednesday's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee could delve into Wray's lengthy legal career that included a stint as a top Justice Department official in the Bush administration and white collar work at an international law firm with several major corporations and banks as clients.
But lawmakers are more likely to drill into Wray's leadership style and how he would operate under a president who is said to have demanded loyalty from Comey and who has appeared insensitive to the traditionally bright boundary between the White House and the FBI.
NAME: Christopher Wray
BIRTHDAY: Dec. 17, 1966
BIRTHPLACE: New York, New York
EDUCATION: B.A., Yale University, 1989; J.D., Yale University, 1992
CURRENT JOB: Wray works on white-collar crime and regulatory cases as a partner at the King & Spalding law firm.
-From May 2001 to May 2005, Wray held various high-ranking positions in the Justice Department in Washington, rising to the head of the criminal division in September 2003. He also served as principal associate deputy attorney general.
-From May 1997 to May 2001, Wray was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office for the Northern District of Georgia.
- From June 1992 to June 1993, Wray was a law clerk for the now-retired judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
FAMILY: Wife, Helen Howell Wray, a daughter, Caroline, and a son, Trip.
OTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS: As head of the Justice Department's criminal division, Wray oversaw major criminal prosecutions - such as the special task force investigating the Enron collapse - and he also helped shape the U.S. government's legal response to terrorism and national security threats after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
QUOTE: "From my earliest days working with agents as a line prosecutor to my time working with them at the Department of Justice in the aftermath of 9/11, I have been inspired by the men and women of the FBI - inspired by their professionalism, integrity, courage, and sacrifice for the public. If confirmed, it will be a privilege and honor to once again work with them. America faces grave threats both here and abroad, and the FBI, in concert with its federal, state, and local partners, continues to work steadfastly to prevent and hold accountable those responsible for these threats."
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