In a prepared statement Wednesday, Christopher Wray told senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee that the FBI’s work will only “be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice.”
President Donald Trump’s pick for the FBI said as his confirmation hearing began Wednesday that his loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.
If confirmed, Wray would replace former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by the president in May.
Read more about Wray’s background here.
And read Wray’s full opening remarks as prepared below:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Senator Feinstein, and Members of the Committee. I would like to thank the Committee for the privilege of appearing before you today. I also want to thank Senator Nunn for his kind introduction.
I would not be able to set out on this next endeavor without the love and support of my family. I am joined today by my wife Helen, and our children, Caroline and Trip. Also here are my parents, Gilda & Cecil Wray; my sister, Katie Baughman; my niece Maggie; my sister-in-law and brother-in-law Kate and Jason Klitenic; and two of their children, Amelia and Clark. A commitment of this order affects the whole family, and I am grateful beyond words to them.
I am honored to be nominated by the President to lead the FBI and humbled by the prospect of working alongside the outstanding men and women of the Bureau. Time and time again—often when the stakes are at their highest—they have proven their unshakeable commitment to protecting the American people, upholding the Constitution and laws of the United States, and demonstrating the virtues found in the FBI motto: Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.
Former Attorney General and Judge Griffin Bell—with whom I worked early in my career—often repeated the saying that there is no limit to what we can achieve if no one cares who gets the credit. The men and women of the FBI reflect the limitless potential of this saying, born of their steadfast dedication to their work.
While the FBI has justly earned its reputation as the finest law enforcement agency in the world, its special agents, analysts, and support staff operate largely out of public view. They toil at great risk to themselves and at great sacrifice by their families. But they happily defer individual recognition because they believe that the principles they serve are so much larger than themselves.
I feel fortunate to have been able to witness this selfless and inspiring commitment firsthand throughout my career in public service. As a line prosecutor, I learned a great deal from working with many brave special agents of the FBI on cases ranging from bank robberies to corruption, from kidnapping to financial fraud. My friends to this day, they taught me much about playing it straight and following the facts wherever they may lead.
I continued my career in public service in the summer of 2001 by moving to Washington, D.C. to work at the Justice Department with my friend and mentor, then-Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, After 9/11, I witnessed the FBI’s extraordinary capabilities as the people there moved heaven and earth to try to ensure that horrific attacks like those on September 11 never happen again. I know, from up close — and I sleep better because I know — that the horror of 9/11 has never faded from the FBI’s collective memory. The Bureau has never grown complacent and continues to work tirelessly every day to protect all Americans.
As head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, I likewise saw countless examples of the FBI’s unflagging pursuit of justice, free and independent of any favor or influence. From counterterrorism and counterespionage to the escalating threats of cybercrime; from human trafficking to public corruption and financial fraud — I worked with and learned from the men and women of the FBI, who put it all on the line to make our streets safer and our lives better.
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. Period.
My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. They have been my guideposts throughout my career and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test.
There is no doubt that our country faces grave threats. As others have noted, America’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have to pitch a perfect game every day, while those that would inflict harm on us need only succeed once to advance their aims. I consider the Director’s most important duty to ensure that nothing distracts the selfless patriots at the FBI from their mission.
In conclusion, I pledge to be the leader that the FBI deserves—and to lead an independent Bureau that will make every American proud.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I look forward to answering the Committee’s questions.