- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

FBI director nominee Christopher Wray told a Senate committee Wednesday that he does not consider Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to be a “witch hunt” and he is dedicated to supporting the ongoing probe of Russian interference in the presidential election.

“I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt,” Mr. Wray said during a conformation hearing under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham.

President Trump has repeatedly used the term to describe the Russia inquiry — even venting about it Wednesday morning on Twitter.

“My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!” the president wrote, referring to Donald Trump Jr.’s defense of his meeting with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 campaign.

During Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Wray said he would “absolutely” notify lawmakers of any efforts to tamper with the probe.

“I am very committed to supporting Director Mueller in the special counsel investigation in whatever way is appropriate for me to do that,” Mr. Wray said during his confirmation hearing Wednesday. “I would consider an effort to tamper with Director Mueller’s investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate and would need to be dealt with very sternly and appropriately indeed.”

Mr. Wray was asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein about the degree to which he would keep lawmakers apprised of any attempts to interfere with the investigation if he was confirmed to oversee the FBI.

If he became aware of such an attempt, Mr. Wray said he would alert the committee as long as he could legally take such action, noting that he would consult with Justice Department counsel to ensure he could share information with lawmakers.

Mr. Wray’s would-be predecessor FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Trump amid an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possibly collusion with members of the Trump campaign. Mr. Trump initially said he lost confidence in Mr. Comey but later said the firing relieved great pressure he had faced because of Russia. The firing is reportedly among the matters the special counsel is investigating.

Mr. Wray said Wednesday he hadn’t spoken to anyone at the White House about Mr. Comey’s firing but that it did come up during a conversation with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He said Mr. Rosenstein brought up the firing to say that because Mr. Mueller had taken over the Russia investigation, it made for a “better landscape” for Mr. Wray to take the position.

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