New FBI chief: 4 in the running

Among those in the running for the FBI director post are Mr John Cornyn, Mr Andrew McCabe and Ms Alice Fisher.
Among those in the running for the FBI director post are Mr John Cornyn, Mr Andrew McCabe and Ms Alice Fisher. PHOTOS: REUTERS, AFP

WASHINGTON • The search is on for a new FBI director following President Donald Trump's abrupt sacking of Mr James Comey last week.

A senior Republican senator and the acting FBI chief were two of the four candidates due to be interviewed by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein yesterday.

The four are:

•Senator John Cornyn, 65: The former attorney-general of Texas and state supreme court justice is serving his third term in the Senate. He is Senate majority whip, making him the second-ranking Republican in the chamber. If Mr Cornyn were selected, there likely would be Democratic concern about handing over the nation's premier law enforcement agency to a Republican who has been a prominent partisan attack dog.

Mr Cornyn has become more of an outward defender of Mr Trump. Last week, he dismissed the idea that Mr Comey was fired to impede the FBI's Russia probe, terming it a "phoney narrative". "If you assume that, this strikes me as a lousy way to do it," he said. "All it does is heighten the attention given to the issue."

•Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, 49: Mr Trump could do something no president has done - elevate a senior FBI official to be the next director. That would be seen as an olive branch to the bureau and would help avoid allegations that he was selecting a political loyalist. Mr McCabe, deputy director of the bureau before Mr Comey's firing, might be a more palatable choice for Democrats. At a Senate hearing last Thursday, he heaped praise on his former boss and rebutted narratives advanced by the White House, including a bid to minimise the Russia probe.

•Judge Michael Garcia, 55: He spent nearly a decade as a federal prosecutor in New York City before president George W. Bush appointed him assistant secretary for immigration and Customs enforcement in 2003, and US attorney two years later. He was appointed to New York state's highest court last year.

•Lawyer Alice Fisher, 50: The white-collar criminal lawyer in Washington ran the criminal division of the Justice Department during the second half of the George W. Bush administration. If selected, she would be the first woman to run the FBI.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 14, 2017, with the headline 'New FBI chief: 4 in the running'. Print Edition | Subscribe