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Trump Nominates Ex-Justice Dept. Official to Head FBI | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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US President Donald Trump. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he will nominate former Justice Department official Christopher Wray as director of the FBI.

He made the announcement via Twitter, saying Wray is “a man of impeccable credentials.”

There was no more information in the two-sentence tweet that ends, “Details to follow.”

Wray, a lawyer, emerged from a list of former prosecutors, politicians and law enforcement officials interviewed by Trump since the president fired FBI Director James Comey last month.

Wray works at the King & Spalding law firm. He represented New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during the investigation into the George Washington Bridge lane-closing case. Two former Christie aides were convicted of plotting to close bridge lanes to punish a Democratic mayor who would not endorse the Republican governor.

Wray worked for the Justice Department under President George W. Bush.

Meanwhile, suspense is building as Comey prepares to claim the microphone Thursday in an austere, modern hearing room of the Hart Senate Office Building.

He is to testify about his dealings with Trump and the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.

A former US intelligence official said Wednesday the Watergate scandal that brought down a president “pales” in comparison with allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russians.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence until Trump took office in January, told Australia’s National Press Club the cover-up of a 1972 burglary at the Democratic Party national headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington that ended Richard Nixon’s presidency “was a scary time.”

But the allegations under multiple investigations of Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election were more concerning, he said.

“I think (if) you compare the two that Watergate pales really in my view compared to what we’re confronting now,” Clapper said.

Clapper said Trump firing Comey, whom Clapper described as a “personal friend and a personal hero of mine,” reflected “complete disregard for the independence and autonomy” of the bureau.

Trump’s sharing of classified intelligence with Russian diplomats of the ISIS group’s plotting reflected “either ignorance or disrespect and either is very problematic,” Clapper said.

He said the sharing compromised the Israeli source of the intelligence.

President-elect Trump branding the intelligence agencies as Nazis over their assessment of Russian political interference was prompted by “his team’s extreme paranoia about and resentment of any doubt cast on the legitimacy of his election,” Clapper said.

“I am very concerned about the assault on our institutions coming from both an external source — read Russia — and an internal source — the president himself,” Clapper said.