FBI Director Christopher Wray is promising his staff that he remains committed to running the agency “objectively and independently, and by the book.”
Wray, who’s been in his role for over seven months now, wrote in a message to the FBI workforce which was obtained by CNN that he cannot comment on the specifics surrounding last week’s firing of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.
“And while I still cannot comment on specifics of that, or any, personnel matter, I wanted the public to know – and I want you to know – that I remain committed to doing things objectively and independently, and by the book,” Wray wrote to the roughly 35,000 employees he oversees.
“That commitment applies not just to our investigations and our intelligence analysis, but to personnel and disciplinary decisions as well,” he continued.
Wray acknowledged that he has “started to engage with the media” in an effort to “reintroduce the American public to who and what we are.”
President Donald Trump picked Wray to lead the FBI after firing James Comey last year. Before a special counsel was appointed, the FBI was investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and if Trump campaign associates potentially colluded with the Russians. After Comey was fired, McCabe briefly stepped in as acting FBI director before Wray was confirmed by the Senate.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting on recommendations, fired McCabe last Friday, two days before McCabe was set to retire, on his 50th birthday, and begin receiving his anticipated pension.
McCabe had made an “unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions,” Sessions said in a statement.
McCabe defended himself against the accusations and argued his firing was “part of this administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the special counsel investigation.”
While the President on Twitter has assailed former FBI leadership, including Comey and McCabe, he has avoided publicly criticizing Wray. Trump’s newest addition to his legal team Joe diGenova, however, called Wray “an embarrassment” and a “coward” for not being forthcoming about McCabe’s firing.
Wray had clashed with the White House over its approval of the release of the controversial Nunes memo, publicly defended the FBI from Trump’s accusations that the agency’s reputation is “in tatters,” and reportedly threatened at one point to resign over pressure to make staff changes. Wray told NBC News recently that he has felt no political pressure from the White House.
CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.