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 WarrenLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats Warren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas Sanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' MORE (Mass.) Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandPush to combat sexual assault in military reaches turning point Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Overnight Defense: Capitol security bill includes 1M to reimburse National Guard | Turner to lead House push against military sexual assault | Pentagon drops mask mandate MORE (N.Y.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats NFL accused of 'systemic racism' in handling Black ex-players' brain injuries Infrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing MORE (Ore.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleySanders: Netanyahu has cultivated 'racist nationalism' Tensions mount among Democrats over US-Israel policy Sweeping election reform bill faces Senate buzz saw MORE (Ore.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyRon Johnson calls cyber attacks an 'existential' threat following Colonial Pipeline shutdown Senators ask airlines to offer cash refunds for unused flight credits Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide 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 FeinsteinInfrastructure deal imperiled by differences on financing If you want Julie Su at the DOL, don't point to her resume Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyLawmakers bicker over how to go after tax cheats On The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Grassley criticizes Biden's proposal to provide IRS with B 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 SchumerChuck SchumerBiden 'encouraged' by meeting with congressional leaders on infrastructure Republicans welcome the chance to work with Democrats on a bipartisan infrastructure bill Cheney sideshow distracts from important battle over Democrats' partisan voting bill MORE (D-N.Y.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBipartisanship has become a partisan weapon Washington showing signs of normalcy after year of restrictions Former OMB pick Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden 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 BarrassoThe 'frills' of Biden's infrastructure plan are real needs Sunday shows preview: House GOP removes Cheney from leadership position; CDC issues new guidance for fully vaccinated Americans Biden says he and GOP both 'sincere about' seeking infrastructure compromise 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.