In perhaps the most shocking turn events of his presidency yet, Donald Trump last night fired FBI Director James Comey, over his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. Meanwhile, Democrats claim that Trump’s decision had nothing to do with Clinton’s emails and instead because of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.
Following Comey’s ousting, his deputy Andrew McCabe will serve temporarily as FBI Director. However, Trump will now have to choose a replacement for Comey to serve a 10-year term leading the federal law enforcement agency.
“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said when confirming Comey’s dismissal.
But who will he pick as his replacement? Here are some possible candidates.
According to CNN, undeniably a strong contender to succeed Comey as FBI Director is Rudy Giuliani. A staunch supporter of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election, Giuliani was expected to be appointed to a position in Trump’s cabinet. However, his law enforcement background will likely mean Trump is considering Giuliani for this position.
That being said, Giuliani’s aforementioned ardent support for Trump during the campaign would make his confirmation as FBI Director very difficult. The position is seen to be a bipartisan one, and given the former New York mayor’s vocal leaning towards Trump, it’s unlikely that the Senate would be keen to confirm him.
Another close ally who Trump is likely considering for the post is Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor was quick to endorse Trump for the Republican nomination after his own campaign collapsed last year.
According to the Telegraph, his time as United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey gives him the experience to serve as FBI Director, however, much like Giuliani, he’s clearly a partisan figure, which could be problematic to his confirmation. At the same time, his past is also clouded by close brushes with the FBI, including the Bridgegate scandal in 2013.
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If Trump is looking for a contender with bipartisan support, Ray Kelly is a strong option. Kelly was previously considered for the position by then-President Bill Clinton. Whilst the position ultimately went to Louis Freeh, the fact that Kelly was even considered by Clinton, a Democrat, puts him in good standing when it comes to bipartisan support.
Kelly’s law enforcement credentials are similarly strong, he served as NYPD commissioner for 13 years, before serving as both Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at Treasury and Commissioner of the United States Customs service.
McCabe would undeniably be the easiest pick to replace Comey and that’s because, as aforementioned, he was Comey’s chief deputy during his tenure, and is now already serving as interim Director. Having joined the FBI in 1996, he knows the bureau inside out and has been involved in a range of areas, including counterterrorism, national security, and interrogation.
Of course, McCabe’s close connection to Comey is the exact reason why Trump might be reluctant to pick him. McCabe played both a prominent role in the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails and was also heavily involved in the bureau’s investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election, so may not be such an attractive option for President Trump.
Exactly who will replace James Comey as FBI Director remains to be seen, however, President Trump will likely wish to announce his pick with some haste given attention surrounding the matter.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]