Wray appeared at his US Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing amid an uproar over 2016 emails released on Tuesday involving the president's son. Wray's testimony comes one day after Donald Trump Jr. released emails from a year ago arranging a meeting with a Russian lawyer to discuss what was to be "high level and sensitive information" that was allegedly a "part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump" during the presidential campaign. But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham cited the development as "an example of where all things Russian Federation continue to haunt the Trump administration".
Graham proceeded to read excerpts of the email chain between Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump's Federal Bureau of Investigation pick: Mueller's Russia probe not a "witch hunt" Lewandowski knew nothing about Trump Jr. meeting because it "was a nothing meeting" The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE Jr. and Rob Goldstone, an entertainment publicist who represents Russian pop star and businessman Emin Agalarov, setting up the meeting before the presidential election. Comey also testified that the president asked him for a loyalty pledge.
That said there's no evidence that Trump's pick is someone overly partisan who will do the president's bidding.
"I think it would be wise to let the FBI-" Wray started to say.
"No one asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process and I sure as heck didn't offer one", Wray said.
Former colleagues and friends describe Mr. Wray as a low-key straight shooter who is unafraid to take on tough cases. What has been said to him?
"If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI's work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice", Wray said.
Senators questioning Wray wanted to be assured that he will be unbiased especially if asked for a pledge of loyalty as his predecessor, fired FBI Director James Comey, was allegedly asked by Trump. Comey said he felt he was sacked in a bid by Trump to undercut the Russian Federation probe. Wray also worked in the Clinton Justice Department during the late 1990s as an assistant USA attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.
On Wednesday, his nominee to lead the FBI, Christopher Wray, indicated that he does not agree.
Graham rephrased the question as a hypothetical.
Wray, who said he's been busy preparing for the hearings, said he wasn't familiar with the emails made public a day earlier.
But he added it would depend on the circumstances and if national security was involved.
Mr. Trump announced his intent to nominate Wray in a June 7 tweet, but officially nominated him at the end of last month.
Wray said the only way to do the job is with "strict independence". Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman, and Sen.
"Senator, I think Russian Federation is a foreign nation that we have to deal with very warily", Wray replied.
Both Democrats and Republicans want assurance of his ability to remain independent from the Oval Office.