Christopher Wray was confirmed Tuesday as the new director of the FBI, almost three months after President Trump controversially fired his predecessor James Comey amid the ongoing investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Wray’s confirmation passed by a 92-5 margin. The votes in opposition came from five Democrats, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Ed Markey, D-Mass.; Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.; Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore. No nominee for the position, which has required senate confirmation since 1973, has ever received more than one “no” vote.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to recommend Wray’s confirmation earlier this month.
During his testimony before the committee, Wray pledged that under his direction the agency would strive to maintain its independence, a key statement for Democrats, who noted Comey’s claim that Trump asked the former director for his loyalty. The president denied that such a request was made.
“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,” said Wray.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa congratulated Wray in a statement released after the vote Tuesday, and emphasized that the new director’s previous comments on impartiality and commitment to cooperate with the duties of Congress.
“The good work of the FBI has been overshadowed recently by controversies, but I hope this confirmation turns the page and begins a new, shining chapter for our nation’s leading law enforcement agency,” read the statement from Grassley, in part.
Wyden, one of the dissenting senators, explained his position in a statement of his own, indicating that his vote was motivated by the issue of privacy.
“In his public and private statements, Chris Wray failed to oppose government backdoors into Americans’ personal devices, or to acknowledge the facts about encryption – that it isn’t about liberty versus security, it’s about more security versus less security,” said Wyden in his statement. “While I appreciate his willingness to continue studying the issue, other officials who have talked about finding common ground have turned around and sought to fatally undermine the cornerstone of Americans’ cybersecurity. ”
Trump announced Wray as his choice to take over Comey’s position in a tweet in June,…