Democrats signal support for quick vote on FBI nominee Wray

Senate Republicans are pushing for a speedy vote on Christopher Wray’s confirmation to lead the FBI — and at least one powerful Democrat is willing to help.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she believes Wray should get a committee vote next week, although any senator who sits on the panel could ask that it be held over for seven days.

“It’s been the tradition,” Feinstein said, referring to the fact that nominees for FBI director have rarely faced the 1-week delay. “And I think there’s no reason not to.”

Feinstein noted that the nine Democrats on the Judiciary Committee hadn’t yet discussed whether Wray’s nomination should be delayed — a routine practice in the committee that gives senators more time to vet candidates. Still, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Thursday that nominees for FBI director generally haven’t been delayed, and he scheduled a committee vote for Wray for July 20.

Earlier this week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said in an interview before the confirmation hearing that he would favor a delay, “because I think as with any hearing, there will likely be questions.”

Still, the comments from Feinstein show just how little opposition and concern there is from Democrats about Wray, currently a lawyer in private practice who also served in the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

A handful of Democratic senators said during Wray’s hearing before the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday that they would back his confirmation to replace James Comey, who was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump in May.

And Wray’s Democratic support grew on Thursday, when Sen. Mark Warner, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he would vote for his confirmation after meeting privately with him.

“I am likely to support his confirmation,” added Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in an interview Thursday. “He answered, directly and clearly, a whole series of questions about his independence, his willingness to resist an overreaching president and his determination to provide Bob Mueller with the resources and freedom to continue his investigation that he needs and deserves.”

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