What an interesting moment it must be to face confirmation as this president’s nominee for FBI director.
Christopher Asher Wray, 50, is scheduled to appear Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Never before could you call the job this much of a hot seat, politically.
After all, Wray looks to succeed James Comey, a Republican who learned of his firing by President Donald Trump on television.
Comey has sworn before the Senate that Trump in private told him “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
The ex-law man also said the president asked him, regarding the federal probe of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, “I hope you can let this go.”
Trump has said he was thinking of “this Russia thing” when he decided to can Comey.
So expect Wray to be asked more than once about his loyalties and independence. How would he respond if asked to let something go?
And expect Democrats to milk the latest revelation that Donald Trump Jr. reacted positively to an e-mail from an acquaintance that said:
“The Crown prosecutor of Russia . . . offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.”
The Russia-campaign probe falls these days to a special counsel, James Mueller, rather than Wray. But it’s still the topic of the moment on Capitol Hill, for Republicans and Democrats, and timing is key.
Most recently, Wray practiced law in Atlanta specializing in investigations related to corporations, including representation of some big banks and firms.
But Wray has a law-enforcement background. He was assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s criminal division, and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate for that.
Between 2003 and 2005, Wray worked under Comey, who was then deputy AG in the George W. Bush administration.
Born in New York City, and the son of a law partner in Debevoise & Plimpton, he’s a graduate of Phillips Academy, Yale University, and Yale Law School.
Wray entered the local limelight as GOP New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s personal counsel in the Bridgegate scandal.
People who know him describe Wray as “low key.” That could serve him well under a White House that has been waging an unprecedented battle with intelligence agencies.
As for history, Wray’s nomination already marks a first. Trump announced his intent to do it in a tweet.