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New FBI Director: US Senate confirms Christopher Wray, replacing fired James Comey

Christopher Wray has been overwhelmingly confirmed as the director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), during a vote in the US Senate. Wray takes over from James Comey, who was fired by President Trump.

The US Senate confirmed Christopher Wray as the new FBI chief on Tuesday, replacing sacked director James Comey.

Wray, a former Justice Department lawyer, was confirmed by a vote of 92-5. He previously won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

The 50-year-old will lead the country's top domestic law enforcement agency as it investigates allegations of collusion between Russia and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. Special counsel Robert Mueller, aided by the FBI, was appointed leader of the investigation after Comey was fired.

Read more: What you need to know about the five inquiries looking into Donald Trump, James Comey and Russia

At his confirmation hearing last month Wray vowed to remain independent and free of influence from politics or the president. He also praised Muller as the "consummate straight shooter."

"My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. Those have been my guideposts throughout my career, and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test," he said on Tuesday.

Andrew McCabe had been serving as acting FBI director since Comey's dismissal.

Read more: US President Trump's choice for FBI chief Wray vows 'impartial pursuit of justice'

White-collar crime investigations

Under former President George W. Bush, Wray was assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division at the Justice Department. Wray worked alongside Comey in the federal case against Enron Corp in the early 2000s. 

At the confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Wray's past showed that he was committed to the crucial trait of independence.

"This is a tough time to take this tough job," Democrat Senator Amy Klobuchar said during the Senate's debate.

"The previous FBI director, as we know, was fired because of the Russia investigation. The former acting attorney general was fired. And we've had a slew of other firings throughout the government over the last few months."

Republican Senator Ben Sasse said after the vote: "Chris Wray will bring character and competence to a city that is hemorrhaging public trust."

Five Democrats voted against his nomination, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, and Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, who together have voted to block many of Trump's apointees.

aw/ (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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