WASHINGTON, D.C.: President Donald Trump said Saturday (Sunday in Manila) he would act quickly to appoint a new FBI director following his controversial dismissal earlier this week of James Comey—a move that was still reverberating around Washington.
Trump’s administration—embroiled in a deepening crisis over the sacking and its shifting explanation of events—is interviewing the first candidates for the post on Saturday, US media reported.
“We can make a fast decision,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One before flying to southern Virginia, where he delivered his first commencement address as president at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian school.
The White House has provided no set timeline for the process of replacing Comey.
Asked if the decision or an announcement could take place before he leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday, Trump said: “Even that is possible. I think the process is going to go quickly.”
“They’ve been vetted over their lifetime, essentially,” he said of the candidates, describing them as “very well-known, highly respected, really talented people,” before adding: “And that’s what we want for the FBI.”
On Saturday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein were interviewing acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, Texas Senator John Cornyn, former federal prosecutor Michael Garcia and former assistant attorney general Alice Fisher, The New York Times reported, citing a source familiar with the meetings.
They may also speak to at least one more candidate: Adam Lee, who heads the FBI’s office in Richmond, Virginia, according to Fox News.
They are among a dozen candidates being considered for the job.
The choice of a new FBI director seen as independent from the White House will be closely scrutinized as Trump faces an avalanche of criticism for firing Comey, the man in charge of a criminal probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia.