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WH press secretary: Pres. Biden will keep Christopher Wray as FBI director

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Christopher Wray FBI director

White house press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed Thursday that President Joe Biden will keep Christopher Wray as director of the FBI and that he has confidence in Wray after she declined to say Wednesday if the new president intended to keep him in the role and if he had confidence in Wray.

“I caused an unintentional ripple yesterday so wanted to state very clearly President Biden intends to keep FBI Director Wray on in his role and he has confidence in the job he is doing,” Psaki tweeted Thursday afternoon.

When asked at a Wednesday evening press briefing if Wray would stay at the top of the FBI, White House press secretary Jen Psaki declined to answer. She also did not provide a direct answer to the question of if Biden has confidence in Wray. That evening, she told reporters she had not spoken with Biden about Wray specifically “in recent days.”

Her Wednesday evening comments spurred a flurry of reports from multiple outlets early on Thursday, with a variety sources telling them that Biden will keep Wray as FBI director.

Back in December, The New York Times had reported that Biden planned to keep Wray in the role.

Currently, the FBI is investigating the deadly January 6 riot at the Capitol. Over 100 people so far have received federal charges and dozens have been arrested in connection to the storming of the U.S. Capitol the same day Congress tallied the Electoral College votes and certified Biden’s victory, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This past week, a Justice Department official said that there are over 300 open FBI investigations.

MORE ON THE CAPITOL RIOT: Prosecutors: ‘strong evidence’ shows Capitol rioters sought to ‘capture and assassinate’ officials

Wray was nominated to the role of FBI director in June 2017 after then-President Donald Trump the previous month had fired former FBI Director James Comey, who had been spearheading investigations into now-debunked links between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. FBI directors serve 10-year terms.

Trump’s firing of Comey resulted in Robert Mueller being appointed as special counsel.

Wray broke with the former president early on in his tenure. In July 2017, Wray told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he did not believe Mueller’s probe was a “witch hunt,” in contradiction to what Trump had routinely alleged.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Elections

BREAKING: Trump ordered to pay over $350M, barred from operating his business in NY in civil fraud case ruling

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Former President Donald Trump and his business empire faced a significant setback as a New York judge ruled against them in a civil fraud case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The 92-page ruling, handed down by Judge Arthur Engoron, barred Trump from operating his business in New York for three years and imposed over $350 million in damages.

The case, which unfolded over months of trial proceedings, stemmed from allegations that Trump inflated his assets and engaged in fraudulent practices. Engoron’s ruling cited a litany of charges, including persistent fraud, falsifying records, issuing false financial statements, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Moreover, the judge imposed restrictions on key figures within the Trump Organization, including Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, barring them from serving in certain corporate roles in New York for a specified period.

Engoron’s scathing assessment of Trump’s testimony during the trial further undermined the former president’s credibility. The judge criticized Trump for evasive responses and irrelevant digressions, highlighting the detrimental effect on his credibility.

In response to the ruling, Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, lambasted the court’s decision, alleging political bias and a disregard for established legal principles. Kise argued that the evidence presented during the trial failed to support the allegations of fraud and emphasized Trump’s substantial net worth.

Kise’s assertions were echoed by Alina Habba, another attorney representing Trump, who denounced the verdict as a “manifest injustice” resulting from a politically motivated witch hunt.

Throughout the proceedings, Trump consistently dismissed the trial as politically motivated, accusing both Engoron and James of partisan bias. His legal team also criticized the absence of a jury in the trial, questioning the fairness of the proceedings.

Attorney General Letitia James, who spearheaded the lawsuit against Trump and his organization, portrayed the ruling as a victory for accountability and transparency in business practices. The lawsuit alleged fraudulent conduct and sought substantial financial penalties, a portion of which would contribute to the state treasury.

The fallout from the case extends beyond Trump and his business interests, with implications for the broader business community and the rule of law. The contentious nature of the trial and its outcome underscored deep divisions and raised questions about the integrity of the legal system.

Trump vows to appeal the decision.

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