Who is Chris Wray, Trump’s nominee to head the FBI?
Donald Trump announced Wednesday he’s nominating former federal prosecutor Christopher Wray as his new FBI director to replace the ousted James Comey. Wray’s biggest moment in the spotlight lately has been as a criminal defense lawyer, successfully representing Chris Christie in the very dumbly named “Bridgegate” case. Trump tweeted that Wray is “a man of impeccable credentials.” So, who is the would-be FBI director?
Wray, 50, started his career in the Justice Department with a nomination from President George W. Bush to be the assistant attorney general in charge of the Criminal Division, a job he held from 2003 to 2005. He was involved in a variety of issues that dealt with the Bush administration’s response to the 9/11 attacks, including, Politico reports, some controversial widespread detention of foreigners from Muslim-majority countries.
The New York Times calls Wray “a safe, mainstream pick from a president who at one point was considering politicians for a job that has historically been kept outside of politics.” The Times says he’s likely to ease fears that Trump would try to weaken or politicize the FBI.
He seems to have broad support so far, including from Matthew Miller, the former spokesman to Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder.
Wray left DOJ and eventually became a partner at King & Spalding, considered one of Atlanta’s top law firms. It was there that he represented Chris Christie during the scandal that accused the New Jersey governor and aides of closing bridge lanes as political retaliation against the mayor of Fort Lee. Christie avoided charges, but two aides were found guilty. A cellphone that belonged to the governor that went missing during the investigation later showed up in Wray’s possession.
The Times says Wray isn’t “known as a partisan,” but he has donated consistently to Republican candidates, including John McCain and Mitt Romney’s presidential races, though, notably, not during the 2016 election.
He’s a double Yale grad — undergrad and law school — and lives in Georgia now. He also has a reputation for being a bit of a babe, at least in the legal world, because no job in the world is too big to avoid sexualizing the nominee at least a little.
David Lat at Above the Law writes: that Wray’s “boyish good looks have evolved into Silver Fox status.” Lat also quoted an earlier blog post of his where he described Wray as someone who “all the top D.C. firms have a hard-on for him.” He quotes a reader who gushed that Wray is “hunk-o-licious” and said he combines “the irresistible, boyish good looks of Nick Lachey with the handsome, rugged manliness of Campbell Scott.” And apparently his “genteel Southern accent” is “simply to die for!”