Trump's pick to head the FBI -- former DOJ prosecutor Christopher Wray -- appeared before the Senate to answer several questions (and listen to several long-winded, self-serving statements). Wray's confirmation hearing went about as well as expected. Several senators wanted to make sure Wray's loyalty lay with the nation rather than the president and several others hoped to paint him into a Comey-bashing corner in order to belatedly justify Trump's firing of his (potential) predecessor.
Wray also spent a lot of time not talking about things he claimed he was unfamiliar with -- covering everything from presidential directives, to Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian emails, to questions about CIA human rights violations that went unnoticed/unprosecuted during his tenure in the DOJ.
Sen. Orrin Hatch -- as he did during a recent Comey hearing -- brought up the subject of encryption. Hatch claims he "agrees with Tim Cook," which places him in opposition to Sens. Feinstein and Burr. It also puts him in opposition of the possible new FBI boss, who had this to say about encryption. (h/t Politico's Eric Geller)
I think this is one of the most difficult issues facing the country. There's a balance that has to be struck between the importance of encryption, which I think we can all respect when there are so many threats to our systems, and the importance of giving law enforcement the tools that they need to keep us safe.
You can already tell where this is going. Encryption is great and all, but what's would be really great is some sort of backdoor-type thingy.
Wray continued by swiftly jumping to the other side of the argument -- at least in terms of team uniform. Certainly not in terms of how the "other side" feels about encryption and backdoors.
I don't know sitting here today as an outsider and a nominee before this committee what the solution is, but I do know that we have to find a solution. And my experience in trying to find solutions is that it's more productive for people to work together than to be pointing fingers blaming each other. And that's the approach I've tried to take to almost every problem I've tackled. And that's the approach I would want to take here in working with this committee and the private sector.
One advantage to having been in the private sector for a while is that I think I know how to talk to the private sector, and I would look for ways to try to see if I could get the private sector more on-board to understand why this issue is so important to keep us all safe.
So far, so Comey. New suit in the office, but it fits the same as the last one. Wray thinks both sides should work together but strongly hints the actual work will have to be done by the private sector. The problem, according to a guy who's worked "both sides," is the private sector needs to be more "on-board." And that indicates Wray feels the problem isn't the lack of both sides working together, but the other side not capitulating. That's a problem, and it sounds a whole lot like X more years of Comey.