Given how often Christopher Wray has rebuked the president, it's clear he will be no Donald Trump stooge

On Tuesday, the US Senate confirmed Christopher Wray as the new FBI director.

Fifty-year-old Wray was confirmed with overwhelming bipartisan support from the Senate, and replaces James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump in May this year.

File image of Christopher Wray. Reuters

File image of Christopher Wray. Reuters

However, if Trump hoped that he would replace Comey with a stooge, he's sorely mistaken. In fact, Wray has contradicted the president on several topics since he was announced as the FBI nominee.

He reportedly told the Senate he would resign if Trump asked him to do anything illegal and that he would consider any efforts to stop the Russia probe headed by special counsel Robert Mueller as "unacceptable".

Trump won't like the sound of that. After all, Mueller's all-star legal team is not only probing the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia, they have also reportedly expanded the investigation into the president's finances.

Russia's meddling

Trump has sought to play down the Russia probe at every turn, consistently referring to it as "fake news" and stating that special counsel Robert Meuller was on a witch hunt.

Trump has tweeted:

During his confirmation hearing on 12 July, Wray, a former justice department official, had testified that he did not consider the Russia story as fake news, and didn't think Mueller was on a witch hunt.

Wray, while refraining from commenting on the email communication between Donald Trump Jr and Russian sources who wanted to share information about Hillary Clinton, stated that any threat or effort by any other nation or non-state actors was the type of thing the FBI would want to know. "I think Russia is a foreign nation that we have to deal with very warily," he stated.

Loyalty pledges

James Comey, during his testimony to the US Senate, recalled Trump telling him, "I need loyalty. I expect loyalty."

Comey stated that he was concerned that Trump was attempting to create "some sort of patronage relationship" which greatly concerned him, as the FBI had traditionally been independent from the White House.

While Trump denied demanding such an oath of loyalty from Comey, the US president added that there was nothing wrong if he had in fact, demanded such a pledge.

Wray, subtly rebuking the president during his confirmation hearing, said, "The role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the FBI director needs to be one that is independent of partisan politics. I believe to my core that there is only one right way to do this job, and that is with strict independence, by the book, playing it straight, faithful to our Constitution, faithful to our laws, faithful to the best practices of the institution."

He added that no one asked him for any type of oath of loyalty during his confirmation process and that he wasn't about to offer any either. He said his loyalty was to the US Constitution and the rule of law.

James Comey: Not a nut job

In May, Trump reportedly told Russian officials, including Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, during an Oval Office meeting that firing Comey eased the pressure on him and that the former FBI director was a real "nut job" and was crazy.

Wray has categorically stated that he does not think Comey was a nut job. Wray and Comey have history together. Both served under President George W Bush: Wray as the head of the justice department's criminal division and Comey as deputy attorney-general.

Trump should have remembered that old saying: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 03, 2017 06:24 AM

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