According to his former chief of staff, the Senate majority leader apparently supports the idea of Merrick Garland, President Obama’s Supreme Court choice, as FBI Director James Comey’s replacement.
“The search for a new FBI director is being handled by the Department of Justice. My expectation would be that one they’ve conducted that search, they’ll present names for consideration to the president, but they are the ones that are leading that effort,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
On the Sunday talk shows, a Senate Republican whose committee will handle the next director’s confirmation said Garland is an inspired choice.
“I think it’s a great suggestion. I’m absolutely serious about it. This is a very different post and putting them on the Supreme Court of the United States – if President Trump were to nominate Merrick Garland as FBI director, I think his nomination would be welcomed by people on both sides of the aisle in the Senate,” Mike Lee said.
An administration source said the two women interviewed for FBI director over the weekend were “impressive and strong.” Fran Townsend is a former Homeland Security advisor for President George W. Bush and Alice Fisher also served under the Bush administration as a senior Justice Department official who worked closely with the FBI.
“The FBI is so complex, it literally takes years for a new director to learn what it’s all about,” Ronald Kessler said.
Kessler, who wrote The Secrets of the FBI, says firsthand experience will be more important than gender to the president.
“So, you need someone, ideally, who is a current FBI executive or certainly someone who deals with the FBI every day from main justice and therefore is current on how the FBI operates,” Kessler said.
Other candidates include Adam Lee, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia office; Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director; and Michael J. Garcia, a former prosecutor and associate judge on New York’s highest court.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, a former Texas attorney general, was also interviewed, along with Mike Rogers, a former FBI agent, and former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Also on the short list, Bush appointee and Virginia judge Henry E. Hudson.
“Can’t think of anything – I just hope that the White House really takes time to think about this…I don’t know if you have to do it within a week or two weeks. It’s so much better to take your time and have the correct candidate than to just rush through it and produce a person.”