Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the number one and number two officials on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters they didn’t know former Assistant Attorney General Christopher A. Wray had been nominated until President Donald Trump tweeted about it Wednesday morning.
I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2017
Normally, the ranking members on the Senate Judiciary Committee would be consulted — or at least notified — before the crucial post of FBI director is filled. Wray’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
Additionally, multiple senior White House officials — including press secretary Sean Spicer and his deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders — were not told about the choice, according to a report in the Daily Beast.
Trump’s decision not to consult Congress on his new pick looms even larger in the context of the controversy surrounding the bureau. Trump fired the previous director, James Comey, and has since admitted he did so because of Comey’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. That has raised alarm bells across the aisle that he is trying to politicize federal law enforcement.
Even so, the White House appears to have felt no need to get sign off from the other branches of government to affirm its choice. "We learned about the decision from the tweet,” a spokesperson for Grassley told Politico’s Seung Min Kim.
Added NBC News’s Marianna Sotomayor:
Here is Feinstein's response to the president nominating Christopher Wray to top FBI post: "Well he may be fine" pic.twitter.com/ZsPzA6UwDm— Marianna Sotomayor (@MariannaNBCNews) June 7, 2017
The Daily Beast’s Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng reported on Wednesday that six top Trump officials didn’t know that the announcement was coming. “We woke up to this,” one official told them. “[Everyone in the White House] should all be used to this by now. ... This is how [Trump] operates.”