Open main menu

Christopher Asher Wray (born December 17, 1966)[2] is an American lawyer serving as the eighth and current Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2017.[3] From 2003 to 2005 Wray served as Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division in the George W. Bush Administration. From 2005 to 2016 he was a litigation partner with the law firm King & Spalding.[4]

Christopher A. Wray
Chris Wray official photo.jpg
8th Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Assumed office
August 2, 2017
PresidentDonald Trump
DeputyAndrew McCabe
David Bowdich
Preceded byJames Comey
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
In office
September 11, 2003 – May 17, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMichael Chertoff
Succeeded byAlice S. Fisher
Personal details
Christopher Asher Wray

(1966-12-17) December 17, 1966 (age 52)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican[1]
Helen Garrison Howell (m. 1989)
EducationYale University (BA, JD)


Early lifeEdit

Christopher A. Wray was born in New York City.[5] His father, Cecil A. Wray Jr.,[6][7] was a graduate of Vanderbilt University and Yale Law School, and he worked as a lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.[8][9] His paternal grandfather, T. Cecil Wray, was the city manager of Brentwood, Tennessee from 1971 to 1973.[10] His paternal great-grandfather, Taylor Malone, was also a Vanderbilt University graduate,[11] and the co-founder and president of Malone & Hyde, "one of the South's largest wholesale grocery firms."[12] His maternal grandfather, Samuel E. Gates, "helped shape the laws that govern national and international airline flights" as an official of the Bureau of Air Commerce.[13]

Wray attended the Buckley School,[14] in New York City and the private boarding school Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.[6] In 1989, Wray then attended Yale University from which he graduated cum laude[6] with a B.A. in philosophy in 1989, and earned his Juris Doctor in 1992 from Yale Law School. While at Yale Law, Wray was the Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating from law school, Wray spent a year clerking for Judge J. Michael Luttig of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.[15]


Government serviceEdit

Christopher Wray and wife Helen in 2017

Wray joined the government in 1997 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he moved to the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.[15]

On June 9, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray to be the 33rd Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Wray was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 11, 2003.[16][17][18] Wray was Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2005, working under Deputy Attorney General James Comey. While heading the Criminal Division, Wray oversaw prominent fraud investigations, including Enron.[15][19] In a May 30, 2013 article, Garrett M. Graff revealed that Wray was one of the senior Justice Dept officials that nearly resigned in 2004, alongside then FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Attorney General James Comey, due to illegal surveillance techniques the Bush administration had put in place under the Terrorist Surveillance Program.[20] In March 2005, Wray announced that he would resign from his post.[21] His last day at the Justice Department was on May 17, 2005.[citation needed]

In 2005, Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Justice Department's highest award for public service and leadership.[22]

Private law practiceEdit

Wray joined King & Spalding in 2005 as a litigation partner in the firm's Washington, D.C., and Atlanta offices. Wray represented several Fortune 100 companies and chaired the King & Spalding Special Matters and Government Investigations Practice Group.[citation needed] During his time at King & Spalding, Wray acted as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's personal attorney during the Bridgegate scandal.[23][24]

Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (2017–present)Edit

Wray being sworn in as FBI Director by Attorney General Sessions.

On June 7, 2017, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Wray to be the next Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, replacing James Comey, who was dismissed by Trump on May 9, 2017.[25] Trump interviewed Wray for the vacant FBI Director job on May 30, 2017, according to then Press Secretary Sean Spicer.[15] Wray's Senate confirmation hearing commenced on July 12, 2017.[26] Among other testimony, when asked if he believed that the investigation into Russian 2016 election interference and possible links to Trump's campaign is a "witch hunt," he stated that he did not.[26]

On July 20, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended to confirm Wray as the next Director of the FBI.[27] Wray was officially confirmed by the Senate with bipartisan support on August 1, 2017; the vote was 92–5.[28][29] He was sworn in by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a private ceremony on August 2, 2017.[30] Wray was formally sworn in on September 28, 2017, in a ceremony that was not attended by President Trump, marking the first time an FBI director has been sworn in without the President who nominated him present at the ceremony.[31]

On February 13, 2018, in a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Senator Marco Rubio [R-FL] asked Wray about the risk posed from Chinese students in advanced science and mathematics programs. In response, Wray stated "nontraditional collectors" (which he elaborated to include professors, scientists, and students) are "exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have" and consequently he viewed the risk "as not just a whole of government threat but a whole of society threat".[32] Representatives Judy Chu [D-CA], Ted Lieu [D-CA], and Grace Meng [D-NY] released statements criticizing Wray's response as "irresponsible generalizations" implying that all Chinese students and scholars were spies.[33] A coalition of Asian American advocacy groups wrote an open letter to Wray asking for a dialogue "to discuss how well-intentioned public policies might nonetheless lead to troubling issues of potential bias, racial profiling, and wrongful prosecution."[34] In a follow-up interview with NBC, Wray stood by his earlier remarks, elaborating that "To be clear, we do not open investigations based on race, or ethnicity, or national origin. But when we open investigations into economic espionage, time and time again, they keep leading back to China."[35]

Personal lifeEdit

Wray married Helen Garrison Howell, a Yale classmate, in 1989.[6][36] They have a son, Trip, and a daughter, Caroline,[8] and live in Georgia.[15][37]

Wray earned $9.2 million working as an attorney for the law firm King & Spalding, significantly more than his salary as FBI Director. According to a calculation from the Wall Street Journal, Wray's net worth in 2017 was estimated to be $23 million to $42 million.[38]


  1. ^, NJ Advance Media for (June 8, 2017). "Who is Christopher Wray? The Christie attorney named as Trump's FBI pick".
  2. ^ "Christopher Wray". Biography.
  3. ^ Wray, Christopher (August 2, 2017). "New FBI Director Christopher Wray Takes Oath of Office". Federal Bureau of Investigation, US. Retrieved September 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "Biography of Christopher Wray". A&E Television Networks, LLC., US. September 14, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2017.
  5. ^ Gerstein, Josh (June 7, 2017). "5 Things to Know About Trump's FBI Pick Christopher Wray". Politico, US.
  6. ^ a b c d "Helen G. Howell Weds C. A. Wray". The New York Times. August 13, 1989.
  7. ^ "Miss Gilda Gates Will Be the Bride Of Cecil Wray Jr". The New York Times. May 5, 1964.
  8. ^ a b Ghosh, Nirmal (August 7, 2017). "Into the minefield steps new FBI chief Christopher Wray". The Straits Times.
  9. ^ "Cecil Wray". Debevoise.
  10. ^ "T. Cecil Wray Memorial Rites Set Tomorrow". The Tennessean. May 14, 1985. p. 15. Retrieved September 15, 2019 – via
  11. ^ "taylor%2Bmalone" "Taylor Malone Dies". Kingsport Times. Kingsport, Tennessee. June 30, 1955. p. 25. Retrieved September 15, 2019 – via
  12. ^ "taylor%2Bmalone" "Retired grocer dies". The Birmingham News. June 30, 1955. p. 1. Retrieved September 15, 2019 – via
  13. ^ "Obituary: Samuel E. Gates". Daily News. March 10, 1979. p. 23. Retrieved September 15, 2019 – via
  14. ^ Soon-to-be FBI director has Adirondack ties, Lake Placid News, Chris Knight, July 30, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e Cleary, Tom (May 30, 2017). "Christopher Wray: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".
  16. ^ "Criminal Division: Christopher A. Wray, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice". Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  17. ^ "Christopher A. Wray". United States Department of Justice. June 23, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  18. ^ "PN705 — Christopher A. Wray — Department of Justice". U.S. Congress. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  19. ^ Markham, Jerry W. (2015). A Financial History of Modern U.S. Corporate Scandals: From Enron to Reform: From Enron to Reform. Routledge. ISBN 9781317478157.
  20. ^ Graff, Garrett M (May 30, 2013). "Forged Under Fire—Bob Mueller and Jim Comey's Unusual Friendship". Retrieved May 3, 2019.
  21. ^ "1 Mar 2005, Page 5 – Asheville Citizen-Times at". March 1, 2005. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  22. ^ "Christopher Wray, August 2, 2017 – Present". Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
  23. ^ Brodesser-Akner, Claude (June 2, 2017). "What Christie Says Now That 2 of His Bridgegate Lawyers Could Get Big Jobs From Trump". NJ Advance Media for, US.
  24. ^ McGeehan, Patrick (July 7, 2016). "Christie's Phone, a Missing Piece in the Bridge Case, Is Found". The New York Times, US. Retrieved June 7, 2017.
  25. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Christopher A. Wray to be Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation". The White House. June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 15, 2017.
  26. ^ a b Goldman, Adam; Schmidt, Michael S (July 12, 2017). "Trump's Nominee to Lead F.B.I. Pledges to Resist White House Pressure". The New York Times, US. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  27. ^ Kelly, Erin (July 20, 2017). "Senate Panel Votes to Confirm Christopher Wray as New FBI Director". USA Today, US. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
  28. ^ Demirjian, Karoun (August 1, 2017). "Senate Confirms Wray as Next FBI Director". Washington Post, US. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  29. ^ "Senate Roll Call Vote PN 696". United States Senate. August 1, 2017. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
  30. ^ "Statement by Attorney General Sessions on the Swearing in of FBI Director Chris Wray". August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  31. ^ "Trump skips ceremony for FBI director amid Russia investigation". POLITICO. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  32. ^ "Open hearing on worldwide threats". U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. February 13, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018. Sequence commences at video timestamp 01:15:38.
  33. ^ "Chinese students in US a threat? FBI chief's claim slammed as 'irresponsible'". The Straits Times. February 23, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  34. ^ "Asian American Groups Demand Meeting With FBI Director After Anti-Chinese Statements" (PDF). Asian Americans Advancing Justice. March 1, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  35. ^ Christopher Wray (March 21, 2018). "FBI chief on biggest threats: China spies, terror, rise in violent crime" (Interview). Interviewed by Pete Williams. NBC News. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  36. ^ Carrejo, Cate (June 7, 2017). "Who Is Helen Wray?". Bustle, US. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  37. ^ Capelouto, J.D. "Five Things to Know About Chris Wray's Family". Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Georgia, US. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  38. ^ AM, Jason Le Miere On 7/12/17 at 7:40 (July 12, 2017). "Christopher Wray will take a significant hit to his salary if confirmed as FBI director". Newsweek.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Michael Chertoff
United States Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division
Succeeded by
Alice S. Fisher
Government offices
Preceded by
James Comey
Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation