Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to install Christopher Wray to lead the FBI before senators leave Washington for the August recess, a spokesman for the Kentucky Republican said Monday.
Wray, who has been nominated to replace the fired James Comey, breezed through his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and has since picked up support from several key Democratic senators. Republicans don’t need Democrats to confirm Wray, but they do need their cooperation to hold a speedy vote, and Democrats have recently been dragging out consideration of even noncontroversial nominees.
“We intend to confirm Christopher Wray before the August state work, period,” McConnell spokesman David Popp said. “Even though Senate Democrats have brought unprecedented obstruction to the nominations process this year for no good reason, we hope they do not sink to a new low and force the first-ever cloture vote on an FBI director nominee.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who chairs the Judiciary Committee, has scheduled a panel vote on Wray’s nomination for Thursday, although any one senator could ask for it to be delayed one week. McConnell also has two additional weeks of session to try and confirm Wray, with the start of the annual August recess being pushed back until mid-August.
Wray does face some opposition from liberal Democrats. When Wray was announced as President Donald Trump’s FBI pick in early June, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) tweeted several criticisms of the former Justice Department official — including that he is a GOP donor, represented New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie during the so-called Bridgegate scandal and that his law firm, King & Spalding, represents “Trump Trust and Russian oil.”
A DOJ official has said Wray never worked on any issue involving Trump’s business holdings, and a spokeswoman for King & Spalding has said the nominee has not represented Russian companies or individuals during his time at the firm.