(ABC)– Confirmation hearings for Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump’s nominee for FBI director, are set to begin Wednesday, just over two months following the firing of James Comey — a move that set off a sequence of events that amplified the investigation into Russian meddling into last year’s presidential election, and potential collusion with the Trump campaign.
Wray, an assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush who currently works as a lawyer in private practice, was nominated by Trump in June to lead the bureau. Trump dismissed Comey in May, later saying he was thinking about the FBI’s Russia investigation when he made the decision. The action is now being reviewed by Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert Mueller as an act of obstruction of justice, according to reports.
The position of FBI director carries a 10-year term and requires senate confirmation. Wray will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday, and will ultimately need a majority of 51 votes to be confirmed by the full senate.
Wray has a second degree connection to the president through New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, whom he represented in matters related to the “Bridgegate” scandal. Christie, a former candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, was an early and vocal supporter of Trump’s upon dropping out from the race himself. He was on Trump’s shortlist of vice presidential choices, and was named by the president to lead a government commission on opioid addiction.
Since Comey’s termination, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, has served as acting director. Prior to Wray’s nomination, Trump considered a number of candidates for the director position, among them McCabe, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas and former Sen. Joe Lieberman — once cited by Trump as a top choice — who withdrew from the selection process in May citing a potential conflict of interest.