'You're going to be the director of the FBI, pal,' Sen Lindsey Graham tells nominee Wray

Key Points
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed peeved with Christopher Wray during the FBI director nominee's confirmation hearing.
  • The South Carolina Republican pressed Wray to evaluate the drama surrounding Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting with a Russian attorney.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

Christopher Wray appeared to irritate Sen. Lindsey Graham on Wednesday at FBI director nominee's confirmation hearing.

As the senator asked Wray about what should be done when a foreign government offers assistance in a U.S. election, Graham seemed to lose his patience at one point.

"You're going to be the director of the FBI, pal," he said.

The South Carolina Republican then asserted that politicians should report these improper contacts to the FBI.

Graham also pressed Wray on the tumult surrounding revelations that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian attorney with ties to the Kremlin, but Wray repeatedly stated that he wasn't "in a position to speak to it."

Below is Graham and Wray's exchange over the Trump Jr. emails:

GRAHAM: Are you familiar with the e-mail problems we've had with Donald Jr., Donald Trump Jr., the last few days?

WRAY: I have not, senator. I have heard that there is an issue, but I've spent the last few days meeting with colleagues so I missed that.

GRAHAM: I'm going to read something to you. This is an e-mail sent June 3rd, 2016, by Rob Goldstone, who is apparently someone connected to the Miss Universe pageant and has ties to Russian entertainment.

To Donald Jr.:

"Emin just called and asked me to contact you with something very interesting. The Crown prosecutor of Russia met with his father Aras this morning and in their meeting offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.

This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government's support for Mr. Trump — helped along by Arias and Emin.

What do you think is the best way to handle this information? And would you be able to speak to Emin about it directly?

I can also send this to your father via Rhona, but it is ultrasensitive so wanted to send to you first."

Seventeen minutes later, Donald Jr. replied:

Thanks Rob I appreciate that. I am on the road at the moment but perhaps I just speak to Emin first. Seems we have some time and if it's what you say I love it especially later in the summer. Could we do a call first thing next week when I'm back?

Should Donald Trump Jr. have taken that meeting?

WRAY: Well, senator, I'm hearing for the first time your description of it. I'm not really in a position to speak to it. I gather that special counsel [Robert] Mueller would —

GRAHAM: Well, let me ask you this. If I got a call from somebody saying the Russian government wants to help Lindsey Graham get re-elected, they've got dirt on Lindsey Graham's opponent, should I take that meeting?

WRAY: I would think you would want to consult with some good legal advisers before you did that.

GRAHAM: So the answer is should I call the FBI?

WRAY: I think it would be wise to let the FBI —

GRAHAM: You're going to be the director of the FBI, pal. So, here's what I want you to tell every politician. If you get a call from somebody suggesting that a foreign government wants to help you, by disparaging your opponent, tell us all to call the FBI.

WRAY: To the members of this committee, any threat or effort to interfere with our elections from any nation state or any nonstate actor is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know.

GRAHAM: All right, I'll take it we should call you and that's a great answer. Now, this is what Don Jr. said Saturday before the e-mail came out, if I can find it here. This is his statement about what I just read to you:

It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared [Kushner] and Paul [Manafort] to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, but it was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up.

I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand.

Do you think that's a fair summary of the contact between Donald Trump Jr. and this Rob Goldstone?

WRAY: Senator, I don't know what would be a fair summary. I don't know —

GRAHAM: Would you agree this is very misleading?

WRAY: Senator, again, I don't have the full context to be able to speak to —

GRAHAM: I want you to look at it and get back with the committee and find out if that was misleading.