Today President Trump nominated Christopher Wray for the position of FBI Director, to replace the recently fired James Comey. The timing is no coincidence, as Comey is testifying today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Wray is perfect on paper. He’s an Ivy League lawyer and former Assistant Attorney General, a consummate bureaucrat who will operate as a steady cog in the wheel of Washington. He’s a ham sandwich on white bread with mayo, i.e. not spectacular, but will taste exactly as you expect. Even The New York Times explains Wray’s obvious acceptability:
Mr. Wray is 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. Mr. Wray, a former assistant attorney general overseeing the criminal division under President George W. Bush, is likely to allay the fears of F.B.I. agents who worried that Mr. Trump would try to weaken or politicize the F.B.I.
Trump didn’t pick a loyalist or a revolutionary to fill the position. Nor did he pick a politician, which was what many in Washington were fearing. Instead he chose exactly the type of professional Democrats were asking for.
You’d think such a pick would be a safe one, but so too should have the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. But in these tumultuous times, expect Democrats, and maybe even some of the “elite” Republicans to oppose Wray simply on the grounds that he’s been nominated by Trump.
The main attack line will likely focus on the controversial firing of James Comey and the ongoing Russia scandal surrounding that firing. That’s the type of attack politicians use when a nominee has great credentials. Remember Democrats’ attack against Gorsuch? It focused mainly on the treatment of Merrick Garland by the Senate GOP, not on Gorusch’s record. Expect the same type of guilt by association attacks to be levied on Wray.
Another attack line that is already emerging concerns Wray’s work as personal lawyer for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in relation to the so-called “Bridgegate” scandal. Again, guilt by association. Alan Neuhauser was so excited to hit Wray for his association with Christie, he made sure to get the material right in the headline and subtitle of his U.S. News and World Report piece on the nomination, “Trump Picks Ex-Christie Lawyer Wray for FBI Director.” Subtitle “Wray, a former assistant attorney general, represented the New Jersey governor during the ‘Bridgegate’ scandal.”
Despite Wray being perfect on paper, don’t expect him to receive an unhindered trip to the Directorship. Democrats will obstruct his confirmation as long as possible, but since Harry Reid ended filibusters for all nominees other than Supreme Court justices, Wray should manage to make it through.