Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / APddd

Christopher Wray, President Trump's pick to replace James Comey as FBI Director, told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his opening statement at his confirmation hearing that he hopes to "lead an independent Bureau that will make every American proud" — immediately addressing one of the biggest concerns for the position following Comey's firing in the midst of the federal government's Russia probe.

Two big quotes to that end:

  • "No one asked me for any loyalty oath ... I sure as heck didn't offer one."
  • "I do not consider Director Mueller to be on a witch hunt."

An excerpt from Wray's opening statement: "If I am given the honor of leading this agency, I will never allow the FBI's work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law, and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period. My loyalty is to the Constitution and the rule of law. They have been my guideposts throughout my career, and I will continue to adhere to them no matter the test."

More live updates:

  • Russian interference: Wray says that his knowledge is limited to public information on the topic, but he has "no reason whatsoever to doubt the assessment of the intelligence community." He also called Russia an adversary "in some situations," specifically citing election interference as an "adversarial act."
  • Mueller's investigation: "I would consider an attempt to tamper with Mueller's investigation to be unacceptable and inappropriate."
  • Relationship with POTUS: "I think the relationship between any FBI Director and any president needs to be a professional one, not a social one."
  • If Trump asks him to do something unlawful: "I'd try to talk him out of it...if that failed, I would resign."
  • Comey's firing: Wray said that he did not discuss the firing with anyone in the White House.
  • Flashback: Wray confirmed that he was one of the Department of Justice officials — along with Mueller and Comey — set to resign over the Bush-era Stellarwind surveillance program in 2004.
  • The Trump Jr. emails, generally: "Any threat or effort to interfere with our election by any nation state... is the kind of thing the FBI would want to know."
  • On whistleblowers: "Retaliation against whistleblowers is just wrong. Period."
  • Classified information: Wray said that the leaking of classified information might harm information sharing with our closest allies — interesting given Trump's disclosure of Israeli ISIS intel to Russian officials in the Oval Office.
  • On torture: "My view is that torture is wrong, it's unacceptable, it's illegal, and I think it's ineffective." He said that the FBI would not utilize torture on his watch and stated that he has no recollection of reviewing or approving memos drafted by John Yoo in 2002 authorizing torture during his time at the Department of Justice.
  • Driving the point home: "Anybody who thinks that I would be pulling punches as the FBI Director sure doesn't know me that well."

Some endorsements:

  • Former Georgia Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn called Wray "one of the most skillful investigative lawyers in the country" with "a proven track record" in an opening statement.
  • A huge bipartisan group of United States attorneys, including Eric Holder, Attorney General under President Obama, signed onto a letter backing Wray.

Background: Learn more about Wray's credentials for the job.

Go deeper

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

2 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.

2 hours ago - Sports

Where it stands: Weed policies by U.S. sports league

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With public support for marijuana legalization nearing unanimity, and more athletes using cannabis to treat pain, the four major U.S. sports leagues continue to reduce restrictions and punishments.

Driving the news: NBA players won't be subject to random marijuana testing this season, an extension of an agreement between the league and its players' union that began ahead of the 2020 Orlando restart.