Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump's nominee for FBI director, said on Wednesday that the Russia investigation is not a "witch hunt," contradicting a tweet that Trump sent out Wednesday morning.
Wray made the comment during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) asked Wray whether the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is a "witch hunt."
Graham's question was prompted by a controversial meeting last June at Trump Tower between Donald Trump Jr. and other campaign staff and a Russian lawyer. Trump Jr. thought he would be acquiring incriminating information about Hillary Clinton at the meeting.
"Senator, I can't speak to the basis for those comments. I can tell you that my experience with Director [Robert] Mueller—" Wray said, referencing the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, before Graham cut him off.
"I am asking you as the future FBI director, do you consider this endeavor a witch hunt?" Graham asked.
"I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt," Wray said.
President Trump has repeatedly referred to the Russia investigation as a "witch hunt," a claim he repeated while defending his son on Wednesday morning after Trump Jr.'s Tuesday night appearance on Fox News with Sean Hannity.
"My son Donald did a good job last night," Trump wrote, defending Trump Jr. "He was open, transparent and innocent."
"This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!" Trump added.
My son Donald did a good job last night. He was open, transparent and innocent. This is the greatest Witch Hunt in political history. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2017
Trump Jr. has been continually in the public eye thanks to two New York Times reports involving himself, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
According to the Times, Trump Jr. accepted a meeting last June via an intermediary with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort took the meeting after being told Veselnitskaya would provide compromising information about Hillary Clinton.
Wray was also asked whether Trump has the power to fire Mueller from his post as special counsel of the Russia investigation. Wray said that he did not know enough about it, but would report back to the Senate Judiciary Committee once he knows more.