Donald Trump: Decision on new FBI director 'within days'

Donald Trump: Decision on new FBI director 'within days'

Eight candidates for FBI director have been interviewed at Justice Department headquarters as US President Donald Trump suggested a decision on a nominee to replace Director James Comey could be announced within days.

Mr Trump was due to leave for his first overseas trip as president on Friday and told reporters it was possible he could make public his selection before he departs for the Middle East and Europe.

"I think the process is going to go quickly. Almost all of them are very well known," Mr Trump said aboard the plane that took him to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he gave the commencement address at Liberty University.

"They've been vetted over their lifetime essentially, but very well known, highly respected, really talented people. And that's what we want for the FBI."

The president abruptly fired Mr Comey on Tuesday accusing him of being a "showboat" and "grandstander" who was not doing a good job.

The firing drew a wave of criticism in large part because the FBI has been investigating whether election meddling by Russia involved people in Mr Trump's presidential campaign. Changing rationales for the firing offered by White House aides added an element of chaos to the president's action.

Mr Comey's replacement requires Senate confirmation. The FBI director serves a 10-year term but can be replaced by the president.

So far 14 people - lawmakers, lawyers and law enforcement officials among them - have emerged as candidates. Eight met Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, throughout Saturday.

The first candidate to arrive for interviews was Alice Fisher, a high-ranking Justice Department official in the George W Bush administration.

Also interviewed were:

:: Adam Lee, special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Richmond, Virginia.

:: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

:: Michael J Garcia, a former prosecutor and associate judge on New York's appeals court

:: Sen John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate leader and a former Texas attorney general.

:: US District Judge Henry E Hudson, a Bush appointee who struck down the centrepiece of the Obama administration's health care law in 2010.

:: Frances Townsend, former Bush homeland security and counter-terrorism adviser.

:: Former Rep Mike Rogers of Michigan, who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. An ex-FBI agent, Rogers drew the backing of the FBI Agents Association, which said his diverse background makes him the best choice.

Fisher and Townsend were the only women on the list of candidates. The FBI has never had a female director.

Mr Sessions has faced questions over whether his involvement in Mr Comey's firing violates his pledge to recuse himself from investigations into Russian interference in the election. Some have alleged the firing was an effort to stifle that FBI probe.

AP

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