Trump to tap Atlanta attorney to lead FBI

Chris Wray in 2005.
(Photo by Rick McKay/Cox Washington Bureau)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he will nominate a former Atlanta federal prosecutor to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey.

The president said in a tweet that he picked Christopher Wray because he had “impeccable credentials.”

Wray, a former assistant attorney general who led the Justice Department’s criminal division under George W. Bush, started as an attorney at Atlanta-based legal giant King & Spalding in 1993 and served between 1997 and 2001 as an assistant U.S. Attorney in Atlanta.

More: What to know about Chris Wray

He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2003 and led the criminal division for two years before returning to King & Spalding as a partner with offices in Atlanta and Washington.

Trump had struggled to find a successor to Comey after his controversial decision to oust the FBI chief and a string of candidates, including former Sen. Joe Lieberman, are either out of contention or have withdrawn their names from consideration.

Read more about Wray in our AJC colleague Rhonda Cook’s recent story.

Here’s a little more about Wray from a 2005 AJC profile:

His first day at the Justice Department required him to sort out how the FBI misplaced files in the trial of Timothy McVeigh, who blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City 10 years ago.

 

And the frenetic pace never stopped. Two months later, the 19 al-Qaida terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in rural Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.

 

During his time at Justice, Wray also worked closely with [then- Deputy Attorney General Larry] Thompson to bring indictments against individuals at energy giant Enron and HealthSouth Corp.

 

In addition to helping secure indictments against terror cells operating in America, Wray helped coordinate the investigation of the Washington area snipers.

 

Under his watch, the criminal division dealt blows to drug traffickers, intellectual property thieves and distributors of child pornography.

 

“I think a lot of people thought all the focus would be on terrorism and everything else would go into the ditch, ” Wray said. “In fact, I think we’ve accomplished incredible things. I feel so fortunate to have had this job in this time.”

 

Another interesting fact about Wray: The family of his wife, Helen, has lived in Atlanta for seven generations and her great-grandfather, Clark Howell, once owned The Atlanta Constitution.

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