Hearings begin on nominee for FBI director

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on the Senate hearing on Christopher Wray’s nomination as FBI director (all times eastern):

10 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director is signaling that he won’t let politics get in the way of the bureau’s mission.

In prepared testimony Wednesday, Christopher Wray will tell senators that he won’t allow the FBI’s work “to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice.”

He also is pledging his loyalty to the Constitution and to the rule of law. He says he’ll follow that commitment “no matter the test.”

Wray is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a confirmation hearing. He was selected to replace James Comey, who was fired by Trump in May.

FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms.

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9:45 a.m.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley is signaling his support for President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director.

Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, says Christopher Wray has an “impressive legal career” and seems qualified for the demanding job of leading the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

Grassley says it’s vital for the FBI director to be independent. And he says Wray’s record shows he is committed to independence.

Wray faces questions Wednesday during his confirmation hearing before the committee. Some lawmakers will want reassurances that Wray will keep a boundary line between the White House. Their concerns come after Trump is said to have asked former Director James Comey for a loyalty pledge before firing him in May.

Grassley says Wray enjoys bipartisan support.

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3:22 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FBI faces a confirmation hearing Wednesday that will undoubtedly focus on the political tumult surrounding his nomination.

Both Democrats and Republicans will want assurances of Christopher Wray’s independence from the White House. And they will want to know how he would operate under a president who is said to have demanded loyalty from Comey and who has appeared insensitive to the boundary between the White House and the FBI.

Wray’s nomination comes after Trump abruptly fired the former director, James Comey, amid an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election.

Those close to Wray, a former top official in the Bush administration’s Justice Department, say he will be a steady hand at a time of tumult.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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