Donald Trump continued his search for a new FBI director on Monday after James Comey was dismissed last week, while the mystery remains about the recordings of conversations between the billionaire and the former police officer.
“We are moving fast,” said the American president in the Oval Office, where he received the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyane.
Several names circulated in the press to take the lead of the federal police: no less than 14 people are in contention, according to Politico.
“Almost all are very well known,” the US leader told reporters this weekend. “Very well known, very respected, very talented”.
He said it was “possible” that the nomination is made before his departure on Friday for an international tour that will begin with Saudi Arabia and then take him to Israel, the Vatican, Brussels (NATO summit) and Sicily (G7 ).
Possible candidates include men and women with police or national security experience, as well as more political profiles.
Including current Interim Director Andrew McCabe, number two Republican Senators John Cornyn, New York City Judge Michael Garcia, former Chief Justice Alice Fisher, former councilor of George W. Bush Fran Townsend, Former Republican MP and FBI agent Mike Rogers, and Trey Gowdy, former chairman of the Benghazi inquiry into the attacks.
Once appointed, the new Director will be heard at a hearing before a Senate committee. Then the whole Senate, with a Republican majority, will have to confirm it to its post by a vote. The procedure will take weeks.
Democratic tenors want to condition this vote on the appointment by the Ministry of Justice of a special prosecutor to take charge of the FBI ‘s ongoing investigation of Russian interference during the campaign and possible coordination between members of the ” Campaign team of Donald Trump and Russia.
In reality, the Democratic opposition, faced with a united republican majority, could not defeat the confirmation vote, but it has the power to delay it by delaying tactics, which would be exceptional for an FBI leader, normally one Rather consensual appointment.
‘Nothing to add’
No Republican tenor to date supports the idea of an independent prosecutor, but that does not mean that all are comfortable with Donald Trump’s current behavior.
Republicans blame Mr. Trump for implying that he had dismissed James Comey because of the investigation of Russia, the billionaire being exasperated at seeing his name constantly quoted while he is not, according to him And several elected officials, personally targeted by the survey.
More serious to them, the president insinuated in a tweet that he would have “recordings” of conversations with James Comey, plunging the All-Washington into speculation about Mr. Trump’s habits.
In the Washington Post, former employees and journalists reported that they had long suspected the businessman of recording his phone calls.
Mr. Trump confirmed that he had, since taking office, had dinner with Mr. Comey once and had two telephone conversations with him.
The rumor of recordings waves the Congress, where Democrats and several Republicans have called on the White House to retain and produce any sound or another file, as required by law, to determine whether Mr. Trump exerted any pressure On the ex-boss of the FBI.
Last week, White House spokesman Sean Spicer had thickened the mystery by refusing to confirm or deny the existence of recordings.
Again repeatedly questioned on Monday at his daily press briefing, he repeated the same answer: “I was very clear last week that the president had nothing to add on this subject.”
The circumstances surrounding the dismissal of Mr. Comey will be discussed at the arrival of Justice Number Two, Rod Rosenstein, in front of all senators on Thursday at 2:30 pm local, in camera. It was Mr. Rosenstein who drafted for Mr. Trump a letter summarizing the alleged breaches of the former director of the FBI.