President Donald Trump's pick to head the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray, headed to Capitol Hill on Wednesday for his Senate confirmation hearing. FBI Directors are typically appointed to decade-long terms in an effort to ensure non-partisanship.
Wray was clearly anticipating questions from committee members about his ability to retain the independence of the agency after Trump's controversial firing of James Comey. "My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law," Wray said in his opening remarks.
Here is the full transcript of Christopher Wray's opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee:
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. With me here today wife Helen, both of our kids, 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 like this affects the whole family, and I have no words to adequately express my gratitude to all of 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 highest—they have proven their unshakeable commitment to protecting Americans, upholding our Constitution and laws and demonstrating the virtues found in the FBI motto: Fidelity, Bravery, and Integrity.
Former Attorney General and Judge Griffin Bell— whom you heard Senator Nunn invoke several times with whom I had the pleasure to work with early in my career—often repeated the saying that there is no limit to what we can accomplish if no one cares who gets the credit. The men and women of the FBI reflect the limitless potential of this saying, day after day in the way they tackle the mission. While the FBI has justly earned its reputation as the finest law enforcement agency in the world, its special agents, analysts, and support staff more often than not 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 much larger than themselves. I feel very 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 brave FBI agents on cases ranging from bank robberies to corruption, from kidnapping to financial fraud. Those agents are my friends to this day, and 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 again the FBI’s extraordinary capabilities as the people there worked around the clock and moved heaven and earth to try to ensure that horrific attacks like those that occurred 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 again 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 then rapidly 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. Full stop. My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. Those have been my guideposts throughout my career, and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test. There is no doubt, as this committee knows, that our country faces grave threats. As lots of 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 just have to hit 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 the 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.