President Trump's nominee to run the Federal Bureau of Investigation reassured members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that he was against the use of torture of non-citizen informants, and denied any personal involvement in the so-called "torture memos" that the Department of Justice relied upon in the early 2000's to interrogate terrorists.
"My view is that torture is wrong, it's unacceptable, it's illegal, and I think it's ineffective," Christopher Wray said in response to a question from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Wray was nominated to run the FBI in early June by the president, and his time as an associate deputy attorney general is a key feature of his resume. But that time coincided with the so-called "torture memos" authored by John Yoo, a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general in the office of legal counsel.
Feinstein pointed to 2008 testimony from Yoo that suggested the memos were likely run by Wray's desk for comment or approval. But Wray said he couldn't recall those memos.
"I can tell you that during my time as principal associate deputy attorney general, to my recollection, I never reviewed, much less provided comments on or input on and much less approved, any memo from John Yoo on this topic," Wray said to Feinstein.
"I understand that he thinks it's possible he [Yoo] might have. I can only tell this committee that I have no recollection whatsoever of that, and I think it's the kind of thing I would remember," Wray said.
Wray also said that when he served in the Justice Department's criminal division, he worked on the prosecution of a CIA contractor that had, in Wray's words, "gone overboard and abused a detainee that he was interrogating."
Wray's thoughts on the topic diverge somewhat from President Trump, who, just days into the presidency, said that waterboarding "absolutely" works.
"When ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire," Trump said in January. Trump since said he would trust his Cabinet on how to handle the issue.