Will There’s A Will, There’s A Wray: Trump Selects Former AAG and Christie Lawyer For FBI Director

136px-US-FBI-ShadedSeal_svgDonald Trump has made his selection for the replacement of former Director James Comey.  He notably did not select an FBI career person but did go with a former Assistant Attorney General. He is Christopher Wray.

His resume is strikingly similar to another prior FBI Director: James Comey.  The White House clearly wanted to show that it was picking a professional with impeccable credentials and independent judgment.  It succeeded and showed that it was still possible to repair some of the damage from the Comey debacle.

President Trump of course used Twitter to announce the selection.  We discussed today the controversy over Kellyanne Conway dismissing the importance of Trump’s tweets.

I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.

Wray experience is obviously more on the legal side than the field side of law enforcement.  That may rub a few agents the wrong way but of course Comey had the same type of background. Indeed, if King & Spaulding is looking for an excellent replacement the head of their government investigations group, there is a recent FBI director who would fit the bill.

Wray has a stellar background.  He is a partner at King & Spaulding where he heads the Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group.  That gives him both prosecution and defense experience on government investigation since he was the former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division.  He was previously confirmed as AAG by unanimous vote of the Senate.  He is also the recipient of the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Department’s highest award for public service and leadership.  He has held an assortment of prosecutorial positions including a stint as assistant U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Georgia.

His most controversial client may have been Chris Christie (who might have recommended Wray to Trump).  Wray represented Christie in connection with investigations relating to the George Washington Bridge toll lane closings.  However, there is no reason to cast aspersions on Wray for such a case. He is one of the best attorneys in the field and there were not allegations of anything improper in his representation of Christie.

He served as a law clerk to Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit from 1992 to 1993.

Mr. Wray graduated, cum laude, from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree in 1992 from Yale Law School, where he served as Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal.

Wray is a solid choice for the FBI and should put many at ease in the Bureau given the rising concern that Trump was looking for someone with a political background.  In a change from a pattern of poorly executed announcements and moves by the White House staff, this one showed both good timing and an absence of leaks.  The nomination will take some attention from the Comey hearing and quiet critics who charge that Trump was looking for a political patsy.   Wray is no patsy.  He is the type of lawyer who is likely to work well with Rod Rosenstein, a change from the obviously uncomfortable relationship Rosenstein had with Comey.

42 thoughts on “Will There’s A Will, There’s A Wray: Trump Selects Former AAG and Christie Lawyer For FBI Director”

  1. In a change from a pattern of poorly executed announcements and moves by the White House staff, this one showed both good timing and an absence of leaks.

    Whew! Well they almost stuffed him in his appointed box. Now President Trump is once again on the clock and his loyal followers will be waiting under the bridge for him to cross. Tick Tock Tick Tock…

  2. The firm that Wray works for also represents both the Trump Organization and Russian oil giant Rosneft (the same Rosneft that is mentioned in the Christopher Steele dossier).

    This is a good nomination why?

  3. President Trump makes yet another great decision.

    That momentous and statesmanlike accomplishment

    is ignored and the President is criticized for using Twitter,

    which, incidentally, makes him the most transparent President ever.

    You can please some of the people all of the time

    and all of the people some of the time, but

    you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

    1. Dear George: Twitter is “hit and run mouth”, not transparency. No one can challenge or question Chump when he uses Twitter for his unilateral messaging. A news conference, in which there is a give-and-take between the media and President is transparency. Chump avoids these like the plague because they make him look bad. Actually, he makes himself look bad.

      That’s what’s behind Kellyanne, too. Someone asks a question, and she immediately starts delivering whatever message Chump wants delivered. The question is ignored, and no matter how hard the interviewer attempts to keep her on message, she just pivots. When someone does finally pin her down, most of the time she lies or spins. That’s why people hate her guts.

      1. Looks like people know what’s on the President’s mind before they wake up in the morning. Professor Turley thinks the President provides more information than he should. I think it enhances the debate.

        Professor Turley thinks Wray is a good decision. Most of the time he is rational and coherent. I’ll go with his opinion for now. It is not knowable how Wray will ultimately perform. Looks like you “repliers” here know more than everybody else – you are Oracles. Good for you.

        If you like, we can exclude all people with good educations from all credible, indeed prestigious, universities. I’m not sure that’s a good idea.

        Probably we need to change the “culture” of the “swamp” because we’re going to have to fill positions with people from somewhere.

        Didn’t Pol Pot literally and physically drain the swamp in Cambodia with disastrous effects.

  4. I wouldn’t have chosen a lawyer. I would have chosen a proven large organization leader, someone good at organizational culture, and ability to make bureaucracies evolve rapidly. The thing the FBI badly needs is to become more data-driven toward excellence. My sense is that the federal code is enforced erratically, sparsely and politically. Federal law enforcement has to be come systematic, predictable and efficient if the deterrent effect is desired. One first step is to work with Congress to review the entire Federal Code, and streamline and eliminate, and modernize where needed. The FBI’s biggest problem is the Latino criminal cartels bringing addictive drugs into the country. While there have been some successes, I’m certain that the criminals are operating one or two steps ahead of the FBI /DHS/ ATFE.

  5. Progressives have redefined the meaning of the term ‘impeccable credentials.’ Politically, nothing is ‘impeccable’ to progressives except that which is ‘impeccable’ to progressives! Has this historical party not submerged itself in corruption for decades? Does it not divide the electorate when necessary? Has it not squashed grass-roots, insurgents for years? Is their objective not that we, independent thinkers, acquiesce to their definition of ‘impeccable?’ In short, progressives are politically intolerant of all judgment, but their own!

  6. Here is more info on the illegal activities of the IC against American citizens:

    Montgomery alleges that more than 20 million American identities were illegally unmasked – credit reports, emails, phone conversations and Internet traffic, were some of the items the NSA and CIA collected.

    He said he returned the hard drives to the FBI, a fact confirmed in government documents reviewed by Circa.
    6 of 15
    “They’re doing this domestic surveillance on Americans, running a project on U.S. soil,” Montgomery alleged. He did not disclose the classified name of the project but said he revealed all aspects of the project during his interview with the FBI.

    “Can you imagine what someone can do with the information they were collecting on Americans, can you imagine that kind of power.”

    Officials with the FBI and CIA declined to comment due to current and pending litigation.”

    http://circa.com/politics/accountability/james-comey-sued-by-intelligence-contractor-dennis-montgomery-over-spying-on-americans

  7. Jon Turley is wrong yet again, even though he’s trying hard to say something nice about Trump, contrary to his predilections. Christopher Wray does NOT have “a stellar background,” nor are his credentials “impeccable,” nor is he a “solid choice” to be Director of the FBI.

    To be a strong candidate to be an FBI Director, that individuals must have experience and a proven track record in catching criminals. Of course, Turley doesn’t look at that at all. He looks at totally irrelevant matters like what law school he went to, his grades, law review, and other unimportant matters.

    What matters is how well that individual is prepared to accomplish the supposed mission of the FBI. And what is that mission. According to the FBI itself, “The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats.”

    So what experience does Wray have in catching criminals or stopping terrorist activities? Zero, zilch, zip, nada. That’s “0” as in zero squared. And the same can be said for James Comey. These guys couldn’t catch a cold, let alone a criminal!

  8. Jonathan: stop right there: “The White House clearly wanted to show that it was picking a professional with impeccable credentials and independent judgment.” Nah, I don’t believe it. Chump has proven that nothing he does is for the good of the country. Everything he does is about him: personal aggrandizement first, and then, maybe the Trump company. The last thing Chump wants is independent judgment.

    First and foremost, Chump wants and demands personal loyalty, so this cat probably pledged that. Comey wouldn’t, so he’s gone. Sessions and Spicey might be on their way out: Sessions because he followed the rules of professional conduct for Justice Department lawyers and recused himself. Therefore Chump couldn’t get him to squelch the investigation into Russia. Spicey just isn’t as adept a liar as Kellyanne. Chump looks bad, so it must be their fault.

    Secondly, Chump doesn’t even know this person, so he’s following someone’s recommendation. Third, I question the judgment of anyone who wants to be associated with this Administration. Reports indicate that Chump can’t even get a good lawyer because of his reputation for not following his lawyer’s advice and refusing to pay his bills. Even murderers and child molesters can get counsel, but not Chump. At least this guy will get paid by the taxpayers, but he’s in for the ethical roller coaster ride of a lifetime. Maybe whoever suggested him already knows he’s a team player. Also, it’s not unimaginable that he knows what it takes to survive. IMO, that is the main skill of many “top notch” anythings, especially lawyers.

  9. A legal eagle for the top FBI job, but seems to have right credentials and experience to lead the law enforcement agency, I hope this appointment is known in the future for all the right reasons unlike some of the other Trump appointees.

  10. The Professor writes:’His resume is strikingly similar to another prior FBI Director: James Comey. The White House clearly wanted to show that it was picking a professional with impeccable credentials and independent judgment.’

    Here’s some more background that might challenge the impeccable credentials status:
    https://www.emptywheel.net/2017/06/07/trump-fbi-nominee-christopher-wray-gave-inappropriate-briefings-to-john-ashcroft-during-plame-investigation/

    Here’s a quote worth considering:
    “Finally and probably most importantly, also while AAG DOJ in the early days of the Plame investigation, Wray provided inappropriate briefings to John Ashcroft about what Ashcroft’s buddies had said during FBI interviews.

    Among other things, the sources said, Ashcroft was provided extensive details of an FBI interview of Karl Rove, President George W. Bush’s chief political advisor. The two men have enjoyed a close relationship ever since Rove advised the Attorney General during the course of three of Ashcroft’s political campaigns.

    The briefings for Ashcroft were conducted by Christopher Wray, a political appointee in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, and John Dion, a 30-year career prosecutor who was in charge of the investigation at the time. Neither Wray nor Dion returned phone calls seeking comment for this story.

    The briefings raise questions about the appropriateness of Ashcroft’s involvement in the investigation, especially given his longstanding ties to Rove. Senior federal law-enforcement officials have expressed serious concerns among themselves that Ashcroft spent months overseeing the probe and receiving regular briefings regarding a criminal investigation in which the stakes were so high for the Attorney General’s personal friends, political allies, and political party. One told me, “Attorneys General and U.S. Attorneys in the past traditionally recused for far less than this.”

    This is what led to Ashcroft’s recusal and the appointment, by Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey, of Patrick Fitzgerald as special counsel.”

    1. Wray is another Bush deep stater. Should have no problem getting confirmed.

  11. FBI Career Person is spelled ‘careerist’ or ‘professional. Per SON is their a per ‘Daughter?” I don’t think so. Where are the PC NAZis when you need them?

    How much of this nomination confirmation will take up time needed to pass the real work of Obamacare Repeal and Replace and the FY18 budget? If it were Democrats in charge instead the answer would May of 2018. as we’ve just seen. Complete with phony tax cuts and phonier threats of shutdowns.

    But in their role of deep water anchor draggers that shouldn’t be a problem. One example for the one’ sso in love with one portion or the other of Obamacare settle on which portion, what problems it specifically has, agree on wording and then cut and paste that portion only into AHCA which means those folks covered in that way are always covered. Then change the qualifications or standards in the other parts. of the new bill

    If no such portion exists there’s no reason to keep it If and no such portion exists there is no reason to not repeal intact. one or the other except tp keep the left happy and that’s never going to happen.

    1. As for the nomination it offers a number of positives

      The choice offers a former administrator but not a career professional leaving them free to pursue an overloaded plate especially Counselor Mueller’s investigations in progress. which can now focus on the correct targets.

      Leaving the anchor draggers to their anchor dragging and the workers to do the jobs their being paid to complete.

  12. Comey is a rat, but the timing of this is good given the hearing coming up tomorrow. What can Comey say, a guy he praised is no good?

    1. “What can Comey say,…”

      Comey can say President Trump tried to unduly influence and coerce him

      and that he, Comey, is guilty of obstruction of justice for not reporting a crime.

      The question is: Will Comey convict himself?

  13. JT puts “Christie lawyer” in his headline and then advises us, buried in the post, to not cast aspersions because of Christie. Come on, JT!

    1. Would you rather JT write that Wray was an assistant AG in George W. Bush’s admin — supposedly tasked with investigating corporate fraud.

      What a great job Wray did way back when.

  14. I’m a Turley fan !! I’m not a democrat but if more so called Dems were like Mr. Turley I could easily be persuaded. Don’t always agree of course but I always know he is a man of integrity.

  15. So Trump finally found a sucker — er, candidate — willing to climb into this lose-lose position.

Comments are closed.