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US Senate Confirms Wray as New FBI Director

  • VOA News

FILE - Christopher Wray is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 12, 2017, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The U.S. Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly confirmed Christopher Wray as the new head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The vote was 92-5 for Wray to take over the agency, which has been at the center of controversy since the 2016 presidential campaign.

"This is a tough time to take on a tough job," Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said during the debate over Wray's nomination. "The previous FBI detector, as we know, was fired because of the Russian investigation" into its meddling in the presidential campaign.

But Wray said at his conformation hearing last month that there was only "one right way" to do the job — "with strict independence, by the book, playing it straight, faithful to our laws, and faithful to the best practices of the institution."

Wray, 50, has a long, distinguished career as a federal prosecutor and in private practice. He has a law degree from Yale University.

He was an assistant attorney general during President George W. Bush's adminstration and has considerable experience in national security cases.

Wray replaces James Comey, whom President Donald Trump fired in May during the FBI's investigation into allegations of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians in an effort to sway the 2016 election.

Trump had said the FBI was in turmoil under Comey and that agents and others in the bureau had lost confidence in him.

FBI officials denied that, leading many in Washington to speculate Trump fired Comey because the then-director was reluctant to comply with Trump's desire for the agency to back down from the Russia probe.

Trump had also criticized Comey for his decision not to prosecute former Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton for the way she handled her email accounts as secretary of state.

FBI directors are appointed to serve 10-year terms and are expected to be nonpartisan and objective.

VOA Capitol Hill correspondent Michael Bowman contributed to this report.

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