The Latest: Feinstein questions FBI nominee’s independence

FILE – In this June 29, 2017, file photo, FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray meets with Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, in his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Wray, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FBI faces a confirmation hearing on July 12 that will undoubtedly focus on the political tumult surrounding his nomination. (Andrew Harnik, File/Associated Press)

WASHINGTON — The Latest on the Senate hearing on Christopher Wray’s nomination as FBI director (all times local):

10:05 a.m.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she will seek assurances that President Donald Trump’s pick for FBI director will be independent from the White House.

Feinstein says she will question Christopher Wray on how he will remain impervious to political influence.

She says she is concerned after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. Trump has said his decision was at least in part due to the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russian election meddling.

Feinstein says she wonders, “Will Mr. Wray and the FBI pursue investigations with independence and vigor, regardless of who may be implicated? Will he stand up for what is right and lawful?”

Feinstein says she has concerns about Wray’s involvement in national security matters during the Bush administration, when the government authorized harsh interrogation techniques.


10 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director is signaling that he won’t let politics get in the way of the bureau’s mission.

In prepared testimony Wednesday, Christopher Wray will tell senators that he won’t allow the FBI’s work “to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice.”

He also is pledging his loyalty to the Constitution and to the rule of law. He says he’ll follow that commitment “no matter the test.”

Wray is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing. He was selected to replace James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May.

FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms.


9:45 a.m.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is signaling his support for President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director.

Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says Christopher Wray has an “impressive legal career” and seems qualified for the demanding job of leading the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

Grassley says it’s vital for the FBI director to be independent. And he says Wray’s record shows he is committed to independence.

Wray faces questions Wednesday during his confirmation hearing before the committee. Some lawmakers will want reassurances that Wray will keep a boundary line between the White House. Their concerns come after Trump is said to have asked former Director James Comey for a loyalty pledge before firing him in May.

Grassley says Wray enjoys bipartisan support.


3:22 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FBI faces a confirmation hearing Wednesday that will undoubtedly focus on the political tumult surrounding his nomination.

Both Democrats and Republicans will want assurances of Christopher Wray’s independence from the White House. And they will want to know how he would operate under a president who is said to have demanded loyalty from Comey and who has appeared insensitive to the boundary between the White House and the FBI.

Wray’s nomination comes after Trump abruptly fired the former director, James Comey, amid an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Those close to Wray, a former top official in the Bush administration’s Justice Department, say he will be a steady hand at a time of tumult.

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