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Published: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 @ 6:46 AM
Repeatedly stressing the need for the FBI Director to be independent of partisan influence and political favoritism, President Donald Trump's choice for FBI Director, Christopher Wray, vowed to a Senate committee that he would insure the agency is not being pulled by by either major political party.
"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," Wray said before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
"My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law," Wray added.
"Anybody who thinks that I would be pulling punches as the FBI director sure doesn't know me very well," Wray said in his opening statement at his confirmation hearing.
"I pledge to be the leader that the FBI deserves, and to lead an independent bureau, that will make every American proud," Wray added.
Wray said that he had not had any discussions with White House officials about the firing of former FBI chief James Comey, who was axed by President Trump just over two months ago, a firing that Mr. Trump later indicated was spurred in part by the FBI probe of how Russia interfered in the 2016 election for President.
Asked about the Russia investigation being led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller, Wray said he would support Mueller in any way possible.
"I would consider an effort to tamper with Director Mueller's investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly," Wray said.
"No one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point in this process, and I sure as heck didn't offer one," Wray said when asked about his nomination by Mr. Trump.
Asked about the issue of Russian interference, Wray left no doubt that he believes Moscow was trying to meddle.
"I have no reason whatsoever to doubt the assessment of the intelligence community," Wray said, as he expressed support for the Special Counsel investigation of the matter.
"I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt," Wray added.
That quote came when Wray was pressed on a number of subjects by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).
At the start of the hearing, Wray received bipartisan support from former Sen. Sam Nunn (D-GA), who has worked with Wray at the Atlanta law firm of King and Spalding.
"Chris understands that the FBI, the Department of Justice, a loyalty to the Constitution, our laws and our nation, and not to any particular office holder," Nunn said.