Sessions described Wray as possessing "spirit' and "strength of character"
Wray called his new role "the honor of a lifetime"
Attorney General Jeff Sessions swore in Chris Wray as the new Director of the FBI Wednesday afternoon.
In a statement, Sessions praised Wray’s “spirit’ and “strength of character,” saying: “I am confident that the FBI, the premier investigative agency in the world, is in great hands with Director Chris Wray at the helm.”
Wray takes over the agency following the firing of former FBI director James Comey by President Donald Trump in May, amid the DOJ’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible coordination with Trump campaign associates.
“As a former federal prosecutor and head of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Chris Wray has successfully prosecuted terrorists, drug kingpins, and white-collar criminals,” Sessions said, and “earned the respect of his colleagues at DOJ,” as well as bipartisan support from the Senate.
In a statement issued by the FBI, Wray called his new role “the honor of a lifetime.”
“I long ago grew to know and admire the FBI from my earliest days as a line prosecutor to my years as assistant attorney general. I am excited, humbled, and grateful, therefore, to have this chance to work side-by-side again with these fine professionals for the good of the country and the cause of justice,” he said.
Wray was confirmed by the Senate by a 92-5 vote late Tuesday. It was only the second time in history that a US Senator voted against a nominee for FBI director. The five “no” votes were Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden.
Wray formerly worked in the Department of Justice under former President George W. Bush.
Comey, who was confirmed in 2013, received the only other opposing vote in history – Sen. Rand Paul voted no after raising questions about how the agency was using surveillance drones on American soil.
CNN’s Pamela Brown and Jessica Schneider contributed to this report