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FBI Director Nominee Wray Pledges Strict Independence


President Donald Trump's nominee to replace fired FBI Director James Comey has promised to remain independent if he is confirmed to lead the federal law enforcement agency.

Former Justice Department official Christopher Wray told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday the FBI's work would only be driven by the facts under his watch.

"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," Wray said in prepared remarks.

"My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law," he added. "They have been my guideposts throughout my career, and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test."

Wray said he was not asked for a pledge of loyalty during his selection process in contrast to claims by Comey, who alleged Trump asked for his loyalty during a meeting at the White House.

"No one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process, and I sure as heck didn't offer one," Wray said.

Wray's confirmation hearing comes amid a continued focus on alleged Russian interference in last year's election following revelations regarding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Recently released emails between Trump Jr. and publicist Rob Goldstone suggest a "Russian government attorney" was willing to provide information that would "incriminate" Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Goldstone told Trump Jr. the offer of "very high level and sensitive information" was part of the Russian government's support for his father's campaign.

Describing Russian interference in the election as an "adversarial act," Wray denied the president's assertion that the investigation of the alleged meddling is a "witch hunt."

Wray also said he has "no reason to doubt" the intelligence community's assessment that Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and former Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Asked what he would do if Trump requested he do something unlawful, Wray said he would "try to talk him out if it and if that failed, I would resign."

Comey previously claimed Trump urged him to drop an investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn contact with Russian officials.

Reflecting bipartisan support for Wray's nomination, the committee's top Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has already indicated that she intends to vote in favor of his confirmation.

Wray is currently a litigation partner at the King & Spalding law firm, where he chairs the firm's Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group.

King & Spalding says the group represents companies, audit and special committees, and individuals in a variety of white-collar criminal and regulatory enforcement matters, parallel civil litigation, and internal corporate investigations.

Wray was New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's personal lawyer during the so-called "Bridgegate" investigation into lane closures on the George Washington Bridge.

From 2003 to 2005, Wray served as the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Criminal Division under former President George W. Bush.

Wray previously served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

(Photo: King & Spalding)

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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