President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next FBI director said he wasn’t aware of Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain about a Russian lawyer that has consumed the media, but did stress the need for the FBI’s independence.
Christopher Wray also told senators Wednesday that he might “dig into” connections between Democrat Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the government of Ukraine.
And Wray, under questioning, didn’t rule out voicing support for new gun control measures.
Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee alternately used the confirmation hearing to praise and press Wray, 50, a former Justice Department official who went into private law practice. Trump tapped him to replace James Comey, who he fired May 9.
Here are six takeaways from the four-hour hearing:
1. Unaware of Donald Trump Jr. Flap
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., read aloud the email exchange between the president’s eldest son and a British publicist about arranging a meeting in June 2016 with a lawyer possibly connected with the Kremlin and claiming to have dirt on Clinton.
Trump was not yet the Republican nominee, nor was Clinton the Democrats’ official choice, as the party nominating conventions had not yet occurred.
Trump Jr. released the email thread, to great media uproar, on Tuesday.
Graham asked: “Are you familiar with the email problems of Donald Trump Jr. in the last few days?”
To some surprise in the hearing room, Wray answered: “I am not, Senator. I’ve heard there is an issue. But I’ve spent the last few days meeting with your colleagues, so I missed that.”