Federal Bureau of Investigation nominee Christopher Wray says Trump-Russia probe is no 'witch hunt'

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  AP

"Period", Christopher Wray told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination.

Graham read out loud the 2016 emails that Trump Jr. tweeted out on Tuesday confirming that he had met with the operative after they offered "dirt" that could potentially upend Clinton's presidential campaign.

Trump won't say whether Russian Federation alone meddled in the US election; Wray says he has "no reason whatsoever to doubt the assessment of the intelligence community" that Russian Federation did meddle.

Trump dismissed Comey in May, later saying he was thinking about the FBI's Russian Federation investigation when he made the decision.

Trump later said he was thinking about the FBI's Russian Federation investigation when he made the decision to dismiss Comey, an action that is now reportedly being reviewed by Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller - himself a former FBI director - as a possible act of obstruction of justice.

"My loyalty is to the constitution, to the rule of law and to the mission of the FBI", Wray said.

"The FBI is one of the most powerful tools available to the president, and from what we've seen from the White House, they may be expecting your loyalty as the president did with Director Comey", said Sen.

While Democrats have engaged in obstructionism on most other nominees of Donald Trump, the expectation is that the critical nature of the Federal Bureau of Investigation director position will prompt them to allow for quick confirmation of the former Justice Department official to replace James Comey, a man who didn't exactly endear himself on either side of the aisle over the past year or so. Senator Tim Kaine, Ms Clinton's former running mate, went as far as to say Mr Trump Jr may have committed treason.

The FBI's work will be driven only by "the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice", he said, asserting his independence. The administration initially suggested that Trump fired Comey because of a recommendation by Deputy Atty.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais  AP
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Wray: "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt".

"This is proof positive that the Trump campaign was willing to work with the Russians", Graham said.

Updated, 11:55 a.m.: During the hearing Wray continued to make strong statements about his support of the Mueller investigation: "There isn't a person on this planet whose lobbying or influence could convince me to just drop or abandon a properly predicated and meritorious investigation", he said.

In response to a question, Wray said he did not consider "Mueller to be on a witch hunt".

Wray was very hesitant and visibly uncomfortable commenting on matters that are under ongoing investigation, including Comey's fateful press conference, which may have influenced the outcome of the 2016 election.

But he added it would depend on the circumstances and if national security was involved. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman, and Sen. Wray said he got no demand for personal loyalty, nor would he pledge it.

Both Democrats and Republicans want assurance of his ability to remain independent from the Oval Office.

Former Justice Department official Christopher Wray told senators at his confirmation hearing that special counsel Robert Mueller, the head of the probe that's now touching the president's oldest son and son-in-law, is a "consummate straight shooter".

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