ATLANTA - Newly-installed FBI director Christopher Wray returned home to Georgia to help officially open a multi-million dollar FBI Atlanta field office.
The longtime Atlanta resident and King and Spalding partner took the reins after President Trump fired the last director James Comey, a move that led to a special counsel probing possible Russian influence in last year's election.
This was Wray's first public trip back home since he was officially sworn in last month. Abandoning protocol, president Trump did not attend that ceremony in Washington, D.C. But neither did the two previous FBI directors, underscoring the changes there since Wray was last in public service 12 years ago.
"I have very little interaction with the President," Wray told reporters after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the $101 million facility near Mercer University. "I have a lot of interaction with the National Security Council. I would describe my relationship with the President as a professional one. And I think that's the relationship between any FBI director and any president should be."
The FBI continues to work with special counsel Robert Mueller -- another former FBI director -- on the Russian investigation. Wray says there's been no sign of interference from the administration.
"I am completely confident as we stand here right now that we are being allowed to do our job independently and I'm going to insist on nothing less," stressed Wray.
Last month, a House committee subpoenaed Wray to turn over FBI files on the Steele Dossier, a controversial outside report that raised questions about Russian influence over then-candidate Trump. The President has denied any connection.
So far, the FBI has not responded to the subpoena.
"We have to be very careful about sources and methods," Wray explained. "That's an essential aspect of what we do. And any interaction with any congressional committee needs to take that into account."
Because he says since he last worked at the Department of Justice, the FBI has become more than a law enforcement agency. It's an intelligence-gathering operation -- trying to predict and stop the next threat -- rather than respond after it happens.
This was also a big day for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. The GISAC -- Georgia Information and Sharing Analysis Center -- is also being housed at the new FBI office. It's considered an intelligence unit on steroids, accessing all state databases of criminal leads, background checks, and other data.
"It works so much better when you're co-housed together because the FBI analysts are working next to the GBI analysts," explained GBI director Vernon Keenan.
The FBI is considering replicating this arrangement in other states.
The new 151,066 square foot facility finally consolidates all FBI Atlanta offices under one roof.