by Itunuoluwa Adebo
Top officials at the Justice Department have interviewed eight candidates to replace the fired James Comey amid demands from lawmakers of both parties for Donald Trump to turn over any recordings he may have of meetings with the former FBI director.
Over the weekend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with the eight candidates for permanent FBI director, and no more interviews are currently scheduled, according to a U.S official familiar with the process. The potential nominees are:
- Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas
- Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe
- Former Justice Department official Alice Fisher
- Michael Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan
- Fran Townsend, who was homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush
- U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson
- Adam Lee, the FBI special agent in charge of the Richmond, Virginia, office
- Mike Rogers, a former FBI special agent and Republican congressman from Michigan who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Rogers was endorsed over the weekend by the FBI Agents Association, which represents rank and file agents. The group said “it is essential that the next FBI director understand the details of how agents do their important work.” While members of Congress are usually quick to back colleagues for presidential appointments, even the choice of a current or former lawmaker may produce resistance because of the controversy over Comey’s dismissal.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, speaking on NBC, said Trump now “has a duty and obligation to pick somebody beyond reproach outside the political lane” to lead the FBI.
When asked about his colleague Cornyn, Graham said, “It’s now time to pick someone who comes from within the ranks or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on day one.” Even the interview process for Comey’s replacement prompted debate.
Warner also said he’d like to see Comey testify at a public session of his committee. The senator hinted the ousted FBI chief is interested in doing so, after turning down a request to appear behind closed doors. “My expectation is that we will get a chance to hear from him in public,” Warner said.