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Tag: director

Trump’s FBI pick: Russia Probe Is No Witch Hunt, And Comey Is No ‘Nut Job’

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

Christopher Wray testifies during his confirmation hearing to become the next FBI director.

If Donald Trump was hoping to find a loyalist or political puppet to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, the president nominated the wrong person.

Pledging he would resign before caving to political pressure, Christopher A. Wray was candid, direct and unafraid to challenge the president’s unsubstantiated attacks on the intelligence community during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I will never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice,” Wray testified. “Period. Full stop.”

Wray, a former senior Justice Department official also defended Comey and Robert Mueller, the special counsel appointed to investigate allegations that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

To discredit the growing and evolving investigations, Trump routinely depicts intelligence officials as politically driven scrooges bent on driving him out of the White House. He’s called Comey a “nut job” and painted Mueller as an unscrupulous opportunist.

Wray defended them both.

“I have worked closely with Director Mueller in many past government services,” Wray testified. “I view him as a consummate straight-shooter and somebody I have enormous respect for.”

Wray’s firm insistence that he run the FBI without political influence appeared to convince many Democrats to support his nomination.

Trump Broadens Search for FBI Director Nearly a Month After Firing Comey

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump has widened his search for a new FBI director and met with two potential contenders on Tuesday.

The two candidates are former Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole and Chris Wray, a former top Justice Department official who has served as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s personal lawyer.

Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey earlier this month after the president complained about the bureau’s investigation of possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Trump has already met with several potential candidates to replace Comey, including acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who has since withdrawn his name for consideration.

During a White House press conference Tuesday, Spicer wouldn’t say whether the list of contenders has been narrowed, adding that Trump “feels as though he’s met with the right candidate he’ll let us know.”

When will Trump select a new FBI director?

Not “until he finds the right leader,” Spicer responded to a reporter.

Former TSA Chief John Pistole Under Consideration for Top FBI Job

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Pistole, the former TSA chief who had been appointed by President Obama, is now being considered for the position of FBI director, CNN reports. 

Pistole, who was named deputy FBI director in 2014, met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to talk about the position over lunch. 

What’s unclear is whether Pistole is interested in the job, especially after President Trump has repeatedly attacked the intelligence community and tried to get the former FBI director to pledge allegiance to him. At least five people under consideration for the job have withdrawn their names.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Pistole ran the FBI’s counterterrorism division.

Trump Considers Appointing First Woman to Lead 82-Year-Old FBI

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

Fran Townsend, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump is reportedly considering appointing the first woman to head the FBI after firing Director James Comey earlier this month under suspicious circumstances.

Politico confirmed that Fran Townsend, the former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, was approached by the Trump administration about the coveted job. 

“I’ve talked to folks in the administration about it,” she said.

Acknowledging that her candidacy is “history-making,” Townsend would be the first woman to take the helm of the FBI since the bureau was founded in 1935. “The fact that women are in that mix says a lot about how far we’ve come. That hasn’t been true before,” she said. “Regardless of whatever decision is made, we have begun to shatter a glass ceiling about what is the population of people who are qualified and competitive to hold such a position.”

Asked whether she’d take the job if its was offered, Townsend dodged the question.

As for whether she’d take the job if offered, the former Bush official demurred: “You know what? I learned in the White House I don’t do hypotheticals,” she said, “but I will say I was quite honored and quite flattered to be approached.”

Trump’s Search for New FBI Director Starts from Scratch Again

President Trump, via White House

President Trump, via White House

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Just a week after President Trump said he was “very close” to choosing a new FBI director, his administration is now starting from scratch, a senior administration official told CNN.

That means former Sen. Joe Lieberman is no longer the leading candidates.

Trump, who sources said had narrowed down his choices to just a handful of finalists, now wants more candidates from which to pick.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a big role in the process, interviewing candidates, including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former congressman and FBI special agent Mike Rogers, and Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush. If appointed, Townsend would be the first woman to lead the FBI in the bureau’s history.

What’s unclear is whether Trump’s often combative relationship with the intelligence community and his treatment of former FBI Director James Comey would make the job less appealing to qualified candidates.

Among the candidates who have already bailed out are former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, Associate Judge Michael Garcia of the New York Court of Appeals, career FBI official Richard McFeely, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy.

Sen. McConnell Would Support Garland As New FBI Director

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

Sen. Mitch McConnell/official photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After Senate Leader Mitchell McConnell played a key role in denying President Obama’s choice for Supreme Court, the Kentucky Republican would support Judge Merrick Garland as the next director of the FBI, McConnell’s former advisor said.

“I think the Senate majority leader thinks that’s a fantastic idea,” Josh Holmes told “Fox News Sunday.”

“He certainly thinks [Garland] will be qualified. And [McConnell] certainly thinks he would be somebody that he could support.”

McConnell he prevented Garland from receiving a hearing on the nomination.

Garland name’s was floated last week by Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey,” Lee wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Schumer: Appoint Special Counsel Or No New FBI Director

Sen. Charles Schumer

Sen. Charles Schumer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening to prevent the appointment of a new FBI director until the Justice Department appoints a special counsel to investigate whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the presidential election.

“I think there are a lot of Democrats who feel that way,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “We’ll have to discuss it as a caucus, but I would support that move.”

So far the Justice Department declined to appoint a special counsel, and Republicans in the Congressional have rejected the idea.

Trump interviewed candidates for the top FBI job over the weekend but has yet to confirm the nominees.

“The key here, of course, is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us.”

Lawmakers to Trump: Don’t Appoint Politicians to Replace FBI Director

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are pleading with President Trump to avoid appointing any politicians to replace FBI Director James Comey.

Trump has come under heavy criticism from Democrats, Republicans and intelligence community for firing Comey while he was investigating any connections between and Trump.

James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said Trump is “eroding” the three checks and balances created by the Founding Fathers.

“I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” Clapper said “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”

Graham is in favor of recruiting from within the FBI.

“It’s now time to pick somebody 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 1,” said Graham, R-S.C.

“The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created,” Graham said, adding: “I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all … but we don’t know all the evidence yet.”