President Trump has a new FBI director: Christopher Wray, who was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday by an overwhelming margin of 92-5. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued a statement that read, “Mr. Wray possesses the skill, the character, and the unwavering commitment to impartial enforcement of the law that we need in a FBI Director.”
Here are six things you need to know about Wray.
1. Wray has an impressive resume in both public and private law. Here is his biography from the Department of Justice (DOJ) website:
Christopher Asher Wray was born in 1967. He graduated from Yale University in 1989 and received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1992. He then clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In 1993, Mr. Wray started working in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1997, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he served at Main Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and, later, as Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.
Wray has since been working with the King & Spalding law firm.
2. King & Spalding won Law360’s”White Collar Group of the Year” award in February thanks to work done by the firm’s group that Wray chaired. Some of the cases that Law360 highlighted as reasoning for King & Spalding winning the award included:
Also during the past year, the law firm represented publicly traded medical device company Vascular Solutions Inc. in a criminal prosecution regarding an alleged conspiracy to misbrand a device through off-label promotion. The suit ended with a three-week federal jury trial in February 2016, with the jury delivering a verdict in favor of the company.
The firm also represented Huntington Ingalls Industries in a $2.5 billion False Claims Act case alleging misuse of congressional appropriations related to Hurricane Katrina, prevailing on appeal before the Fifth Circuit in a unanimous panel opinion in March 2016.
And in March the firm secured a New York federal court decision dismissing claims against its client, PwC Brazil, in a securities class action stemming from a corruption probe into its audit client, Petroleo Brasileiro SA – Petrobras. The ruling knocked out billions of dollars in potential damages against the auditor.
Wray, the chair of King & Spalding’s Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group, told Law360 that his group maintains a “keep calm and tackle hard” philosophy.
“We’re more known for calmly and quietly diffusing a crisis or making matters go quietly away and keeping things in the middle of the road,” Wray said.
Wray himself has been dubbed as “one of the top litigators in white-collar crime and government investigations,” according to Heavy.
3. Wray and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) have a history of working together. They worked together in George W. Bush’s Justice Department and collaborated on various investigations. Wray was also one of Christie’s attorneys during the Bridgegate investigation. Interestingly, during the investigation the defendants’ lawyers requested that Christie hand over his cell phone, but Christie claimed that it was no longer in his possession after turning it over to the government. It turned out that the cell phone was given to the Christie administration’s law firm, which handed it to Wray, who still has it in his possession. The defendants’ lawyers tried to subpoena the phone, but a federal judge threw it out.
4. Wray sided with Comey in his battle against the Bush administration in 2004. The Bush administration had tried to get Attorney General John Ashcroft, who was hospitalized at the time, to sign off on their surveillance program. Comey, Ashcroft and then-FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign when the Bush administration attempted to move forward with the program anyway, and Wray would have joined them. Wray is actually quoted as telling Comey in the hallway outside of Ashcroft’s hospital room, “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but before you guys all pull the rip cords, please give me a heads-up so I can jump with you.”
5. Comey was Wray’s boss for a period of time in the Bush DOJ.
In addition to the aforementioned Comey standoff with the Bush administration, a notable case that Comey and Wray worked together on was the Enron investigation in 2004.
6. Wray contradicted the president on the Russia investigation during his confirmation hearing. Prior to the hearing, Trump had tweeted that the Russia investigation “is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history.” But Wray disagreed, telling the Senate Judiciary Committee, “I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt.”
Wray also said that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian attorney “is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.” He later said that “Russia is a foreign nation that we have to deal with warily.”