WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden has asked Christopher Wray to stay on as FBI director and he has confidence in the job Wray is doing, the White House said on Thursday.
Appointed by former Republican President Donald Trump, Wray was a frequent target of Trump’s anger over the FBI director’s refusal to back false claims of voter fraud in the Nov. 3 election.
Federal Bureau of Investigation directors are appointed for 10 years and Wray has six years left in his term.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed on Twitter that Biden “intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing.” Psaki said she caused an “unintentional ripple” on Wednesday when she said she had not spoken to the president about Wray.
Biden’s decision to retain Wray as FBI chief was welcomed by Adam Schiff, the Democrat who chairs the House Intelligence Committee and a critic of Trump’s handling of intelligence issues.
“Christopher Wray became FBI director at a moment of tremendous turmoil for the bureau and the country, and he has served with great professionalism and integrity. I am glad to see that President Biden intends to keep Director Wray in his position,” Schiff said.
Schiff said he looked forward to working with Wray on analyses of “intelligence and security failures that led to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, and the need to dramatically expand the focus and resources devoted to the threat of domestic terrorism.”
Wray told a House committee last September that Russia was interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections by spreading misinformation aimed at candidate Joe Biden.
Wray also told the panel the FBI was conducting multiple investigations into violent domestic extremists and that the largest “chunk” of investigations involved white supremacist groups.
Regarding China, Wray said the FBI is opening a new counterintelligence investigation related to China “every 10 hours.”
CNBC first reported the decision to keep Wray.
(Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)