Upon assuming the title of FBI director following James Comey’s ousting, Christopher Wray has embarked on a high-wire act maneuvering between top-ranking officials of the Trump administration and the public’s skepticism toward the president’s legitimacy. Caught between a special prosecutor galvanizing support à la Maximus Decimus Meridius and barrages of conspiracy-hyped narratives pushed by Fox News, Wray treads carefully.
In an interview clip with NBC released on Tuesday, the director denied that the president ever pressured him to close the FBI’s investigation into the question of collusion with Russia, adhering to the White House’s narrative even as Trump repeatedly criticizes the probe as a “witch hunt.”
“He’s never asked me to do anything with the Russia investigation,” said Wray, contradicting Comey’s claims that Trump requested loyalty while jockeying to end the investigation into former national security advisor Mike Flynn.
Claiming independence from partisanship, Wray defended the firing of former deputy director Andrew McCabe just days before his retirement.
“I’m committed to doing things objectively and independently and by the book,” asserted Wray. “I think that has to extend not just to our investigations, our intelligence analysis, but it also has to expand to personnel decisions and disciplinary decisions.”
When pressed about the timing, Wray deferred the process to the bureau.
“I want to be careful what I can say about the process,” he said. “But I will tell you that my commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that, most importantly, it is not based on political and partisan influence, is something I am utterly unyielding on.”
Trump attacked McCabe on Twitter several months prior, lambasting donations made to his wife’s failed Senate campaign by a political action committee controlled by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe—a close ally to former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
McCabe’s firing, executed by Trump’s appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raised questions over partisan intervention and whether the president had sought retribution.
Though Wray previously contradicted claims pushed by the Trump administration—such as his assertion that an ongoing FBI investigation surrounded the White House’s employment of former Staff Secretary Rob Porter—he remains caught amid multiple investigations and powerful leaders each with their own agendas.
As the bureau he heads investigates alleged collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, Wray navigates contradicting rhetoric, legal technicalities and theatrics all masking Washington power plays.