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Trump Names Attorney to Head FBI in Heat of Russia Investigation

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on June 09, 2017 7:00 AM

As former FBI director James Comey prepared to testify about the Russia investigation, President Trump briefly turned the spotlight away from the controversy to name a new FBI director.

After a month-long search that seemed to frustrate the president, Trump named attorney Christopher Wray to the head the FBI. Trump tweeted his choice even as Comey told the Senate the president lied when he fired him over the investigation into Trump's contacts with Russian officials during his run for the White House.

Wray, a veteran of Washington and defending clients against charges of white-collar crimes and political scandal, will step into a job that apparently nobody wanted in the heat of the month-long moment.

No Thank You's

Trump had no idea who would take over the FBI when he fired Comey on May 9. The situation started to look desperate as candidate-after-candidate turned him down.

The Los Angeles Times said the White House search was "chaotic" as six people withdrew their names from consideration, including two Senators, one congressman, a judge, an FBI official, and a former U.S. Attorney.

"Trump settled on Wray after interviewing him last week at the White House, along with former Transportation Security Administration Director John Pistole," the newspaper reported.

Wray, who defends white-collar clients like Gov. Chris Christie in the "Bridgegate probe," previously served as a federal prosecutor. He came to Washington in 2001 and rose to head the criminal division of the Justice Department.

Lawyers Just Said "No"

Wray's firm, King & Spaulding, has also done work for the Trump family and represented Russian companies and state-owned businesses. Bobby Burchfield, a partner at the Washington office, serves as ethics adviser for the trust set up to isolate Trump from day-to-day operations of his business.

Meanwhile, at least four large law firms declined to represent the president in the Russia investigations. According to reports, some attorneys were concerned "the guy won't pay and he won't listen."

Sources said high-profile lawyers, including Brendan Sullivan of Williams & Connolly; Ted Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher; Paul Clement and Mark Filip of Kirkland & Ellis; and Robert Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell; cited various reasons for declining the job.

At the Senate hearing, Comey said the president changed his story about firing him. He claimed he terminated Comey for being a "showboat." Trump reportedly also told Russian diplomats that Comey was a "nut job."

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