President Trump is at a crossroads as he chooses the next director of the FBI, The Hill reports. Will he choose a loyalist to replace James Comey? Will it be a popular politician, like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Or will Trump place a high value on a candidate who would be a reassuring voice to an organization shaken by Comey’s firing? The Justice Department interviewed eight candidates over the weekend, three of whom are current or former politicians and none of whom have the kind of nonpartisan support that Comey had when President Obama selected him in 2013. No politician has ever taken the helm of the bureau, and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are concerned that if Trump chooses a politician, he could upend that convention.
Stoking those fears are reports that allies of Comey believe he was fired because he refused to pledge his loyalty to the president during a dinner meeting in January. “My fear is that he will go the politician route, and name someone who will be more loyal to him,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fl.). “That’s not what we want in an FBI director.” Cornyn would be a popular choice, but Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) said, “He would be a great choice in normal times, but we’re not living in normal times.” A political choice will not sit well within the bureau. “I don’t think a politician is the right pick at this moment,” said a former FBI official. Asked if any of the eight candidates interviewed so far would satisfy rank-and-file agents, he replied, “I don’t see any in that list.”