Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray announces significant law enforcement actions related to the illegal sale of drugs and other illicit goods and services on the Darknet during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, September 22, 2020.
Olivier Douliery | Pool | Reuters
President Joe Biden will keep FBI Director Christopher Wray in his position, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday, a day after refusing to answer a question on the subject.
Wray, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is serving a 10-year term. He was expected to remain in place.
Psaki declined to say whether Wray would hold onto his role during her first press conference on Wednesday. She said she had not spoken with Biden about the matter.
In a post on Twitter on Thursday, Psaki said her comment caused an “unintentional ripple.”
She wrote in the tweet that she “wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing.”
The FBI is currently conducting a massive investigation into the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Dozens have been arrested and charged in connection with the breach of Congress.
The Justice Department, which contains the FBI, is also probing the financial affairs of Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden disclosed the investigation in December.
Wray was installed by Trump in 2017 after the former president fired James Comey, who was at the time leading investigations related to the Trump 2016 campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
Comey’s firing sparked the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
While Trump appointed Wray, the two had a rocky relationship from the get-go. In an early break with Trump, Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee in July of 2017 that he did not believe Mueller’s investigation was a “witch hunt,” as Trump had frequently claimed.
Prior to Comey, only one FBI director had been fired in the bureau’s history. Former President Bill Clinton fired William Sessions in 1993 after a Justice Department report raised ethics questions.
Biden has pledged to protect the Justice Department’s independence. He announced earlier this month that Merrick Garland, a left-leaning centrist, will be his pick for attorney general.
“We need to restore the honor, the integrity, the independence of the DOJ of this nation that has been so badly damaged,” Biden said at the time.