FBI nominee Christopher Wray says Russia probe not witch hunt

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Wray is facing questions from senators on capitol hill on Wednesday

Donald Trump’s pick to lead the FBI has rejected the president’s depiction of a probe into alleged Russian meddling of the US election as a witch hunt.

“I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt,” Christopher Wray said about the former FBI director who is leading the special investigation.

Mr Wray also told a Senate hearing he would quit if the president asked him to do anything illegal.

The last FBI director, James Comey, was fired by the US president on 9 May.

The US president earlier on Wednesday tweeted: “This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!”

Mr Wray told the Senate panel on Wednesday: “Anybody who thinks that I would be pulling punches as FBI director sure doesn’t know me well.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.”

The nominee said he was “very committed to supporting” the work of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mr Mueller, who was described by Mr Wray as “a straight shooter”, is a former FBI director who is now leading the special inquiry into alleged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

Mr Wray also faced questions about emails belonging to Donald Trump Jr – the president’s eldest son – arranging a meeting with a Russian lawyer linked to the Kremlin.

The nominee told senators he was unfamiliar with the emails.

Senator Lindsey Graham read out the text of the emails to him and asked if Mr Trump Jr “should have taken that meeting”.

“I would think you’d want to consult with some good legal advisers before you did that,” said Mr Wray when pressed by the South Carolina Republican.

Last month, Mr Comey told a congressional hearing that Mr Trump had requested a pledge of loyalty to him, which Mr Comey said he had refused to give.

Mr Wray declared: “My loyalty is to the constitution, to the rule of law, and to the mission of the FBI.

“And nobody asked me for any kind of loyalty oath at any point during this process and I sure as heck didn’t offer one.”

If the president ever asked for him to do anything illegal, he told senators, “first I would try to talk him out of it, and if that failed I would resign”.

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