U.S. Senator Jon Tester on Tuesday placed his support behind President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the FBI, bringing to 20 the number of Trump nominees the Montana Democrat has backed.
Tester met with Christopher Wray last month and officially endorsed him on Tuesday after Wray successfully answered his questions. The Senate confirmed wry on a 92-5 vote.
“I am confident that Director Wray will be a strong, independent leader who will hit the ground running and take on the challenges facing many Montana communities,” Tester said.
During his meeting with Wray, Tester raised issues specific to Montana and encouraged him to work closely with Montana law enforcement officials to address the state’s largest public safety issues.
Among those issues, Tester emphasized the growing meth epidemic. The Democrat said he received assurance that Wray will work closely with local police to eliminate the use, trafficking and manufacturing of the drug.
Tester said the rate of hospital admissions due to meth overdoses in Montana is currently above the national average and has more than doubled in recent years.
“During our conversation, Director Wray assured me that he is committed to curbing the meth epidemic and prosecuting violent criminals in Montana,” Tester said. “I am going to hold him accountable to his words and I look forward to working with him and local law enforcement to make our communities even safer.”
Tester has been pushing the Trump administration to identify solutions to the rising meth problem in Montana, and has criticized the administration’s attempt to cut 95 percent of funding from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, even as opioid and meth use is rising.
Tester said he also encouraged Wray to prioritize prosecuting crimes in Indian Country, investigating sexual assaults on college campuses, and continue the ongoing independent investigation into Russia’s recent cyberattack on the U.S.
Wray is a former senior Justice Department official. He told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would never pledge loyalty to the president, adding that if Trump ever pressured him to drop an investigation, he would push back or resign.