If confirmed, Wray would replace James Comey, whom Trump fired in May saying he had lost the confidence of the FBI's rank and file. Trump later said in an interview with NBC News that the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion by Trump associates was on his mind when he decided to get rid of Comey.
Trump said in a statement later that Wray is an "impeccably qualified individual" who will be a "fierce guardian of the law and model of integrity" once confirmed by the Senate.
Democrats and other groups quickly pounced on the announcement, noting that Wray had been at the Justice Department during a time when it offered legal justification for enhanced interrogation techniques, which some say was torture. Wray was also the attorney for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who led Trump's transition team, during the Bridgegate scandal.
"Christopher Wray's firm's legal work for the Trump family, his history of partisan activity, as well as his history of defending Trump's transition director during a criminal scandal makes us question his ability to lead the FBI with the independence, evenhanded judgment, and commitment to the rule of law that the agency deserves," said Faiz Shakir, national political director for the American Civil Liberties Union.
"In this important moment for our country, the American people deserve a commitment from any nominee for FBI director to the foundational principles of our Constitution, and that that commitment outweighs any loyalty to a political party or a single politician," Shakir added. "We will be watching closely in the coming days to ensure Wray makes these commitments and earns the trust of the public."