Senate confirms Trump's new FBI director

The Senate easily confirmed President Trump's pick to lead the FBI on Tuesday, following the abrupt firing of James Comey earlier this year. 

Senators voted 92-5 on Christopher Wray's nomination to lead the bureau. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKlobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Warren calls for probe into Trump name change for consumer bureau Warren unveils bill to lower drug prices by letting government manufacture them MORE (Mass.) Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandJuan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women Gillibrand says she's worried about top options in Dem 2020 poll being white men Biden team discussed 2020 run with O'Rourke as VP: report MORE (N.Y.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyWarren unveils bill to lower drug prices by letting government manufacture them Dem senator: Trump border policy 'designed to traumatize these kids' Senate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension MORE (Ore.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyGOP Sen. Lamar Alexander won't seek reelection Senate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Massachusetts is leading the way on gun safety, but we can’t do it alone MORE (Mass.) voted against the confirmation. 

Tuesday's vote caps off a largely low-drama confirmation process for Wray, who was approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee late last month. 

Multiple congressional committees, as well as the Justice Department's investigation overseen by special counsel Robert Mueller, are probing Russia's election interference and potential ties between Trump campaign officials and Moscow.

Democrats praised Trump's nominee, saying they believed he could be independent of the president and any attempts to politicize the bureau. 


"It is really important that we have a strong FBI director. There can be no manipulation," Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats will fail if they portray William Barr as controversial pick Senate Dems urge Trump to continue nuclear arms control negotiations after treaty suspension Senate Intel leaders ask judge not to jail former aide amid leak investigation MORE (D-Calif.) said ahead of the vote.

"Special counsel Robert Mueller most be allowed to proceed with his investigation undisturbed," she said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added that he believes Wray would protect Mueller's probe. 

"I regret that he will be the FBI director only because it is the result of an abuse and improper firing of James Comey and the special counsel's investigation of that firing as a potential obstruction of justice is well warranted," the Judiciary Committee member said. 

Trump has taken multiple shots at Mueller, prompting speculation that he could try to fire or direct the Justice Department to fire the former FBI director. 

Wray defended the investigation during this confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

"I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt," Wray said, when asked about the probe by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

Senators in both parties have warned Trump against firing Mueller, who is widely respected in Washington from his tenure as head of the FBI. 

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySenate votes to end debate on criminal justice reform bill Five takeaways from the court decision striking down ObamaCare The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda MORE (R-Iowa), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said Wray was "forthright" about how he was vetted for the top FBI job. 

"He made no loyalty pledges then, and I expect him never to make such a pledge," Grassley said ahead of Tuesday's vote. 

Wray oversaw the criminal division of the FBI as an assistant attorney general under former President George W. Bush. 

He also represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) during the Bridgegate scandal.

The vote on Wray's nomination comes as Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMake Trump own the shutdown over his ill-advised border wall More than a tantrum McConnell’s marijuana conundrum: Cory Gardner MORE (D-N.Y.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellIsrael boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate Schumer blasts GOP request for immigration 'slush fund' Trump: 'Too early to say' if shutdown will be averted MORE (R-Ky.) are negotiating a deal that would allow them to move a slate of Trump's nominees before they leave for the August recess. 

McConnell predicted that it could end up being a "pretty robust package of nominations." 

Democrats have been slow-walking Trump's nominees because of the months-long fight over repealing ObamaCare. 

Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoSenate votes to end debate on criminal justice reform bill The Year Ahead: Dems under pressure to deliver on green agenda White House jumps into fight over energy subsidies MORE (R-Wyo.) blasted Democrats on Tuesday for the maneuvers, saying they were trying to hold up "important and consequential" positions. 

"It's time to clear them all," Barrasso, a member of GOP leadership, said. 

In addition to a backlog of nominations, the Trump administration has also been slow to nominate individuals. 

Of 575 "key positions" tracked by The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service the Trump administration hasn't formally nominated someone for 355 of those positions. 

In total, there are 165 nominations currently working their way through the Senate, according to the tracker.