WASHINGTON — Who is Christopher Wray and what is his connection to Gov. Chris Christie?

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that he would nominate Wray to replace James Comey as FBI Director in an announcement that took some U.S. senators by surprise.

A spokesman for Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said his office found out when Trump tweeted the news Wednesday morning, according to media repots. The panel's top Democrat, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also wasn't told. She told reporters she needs time to review his credentials.

Wray had been Christie's personal attorney during the investigation over the 2013 "Bridgegate" scandal — which led to charges against several close Christie allies but never against Christie himself.

4 things to know about Wray & Christie

  • He had Governor Christie's phone: During the Bridegate investigation,questions were raised about a dozen text messages between Christie a staffer. Christie said he had given the phone "to the government" but after a judge refused to subpoena his phone his office revealed Wray had it.
  • Christie approves of the nomination: Christie on Wednesday said of Wray's nomination: "I can’t give a better recommendation than that. I think that the president of the United States should be commended. He did a deliberative process. He met lots of people, from what I understand. And in the end when I heard that he had made the choice of Chris Wray, I commend him for it, the president made an outstanding choice, a non-political choice. One I think people in law enforcement will all be thrilled to know that they’ve got a smart, independent voice and a person who has a great amount of integrity as anyone I’ve ever worked with. The FBI will be well-served.”
  • They worked together: Wray worked with Christie in the 2000s in the Bush administration. Christie said during the press conference they worked together on a case investigating the accounting practices at Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • He once threatened to quit the Justice Department: Wray asked Comey in 2004, when he was threatening to quit over a dispute with the White House, to let him know so he could leave too. As described by USA today, then-deputy attorney general Comey was upset over the White House's effort to persuade AG John Ashcroft to reauthorize a warrantless surveillance program from his hotel room. The report cites the book "Angler" recounting that Wray told Comey: “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but before your guys all pull the rip cords, please give me a heads-up so I can jump with you."

Michael Symons and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.

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