US President Donald Trump considering 11 candidates to replace James Comey

Pauline Gross
May 19, 2017

Reacting to President Donald Trump's latest Twitter barrage, a local congressman demanded today during a visit to Los Angeles City Hall that the president turn over to Congress any secretly recorded conversations with the recently fired Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

If loyalty is a key factor in the hiring decision, McCabe might be at a disadvantage.

The communications staff charged with explaining the decision to the American people had an hour's notice.

As has happened on previous occasions since Trump took office, different versions rapidly circulated of an event - in this case phone conversations between Comey and Trump and a dinner they had at the White House. But he wound up creating new headaches for the White House, including with an apparent threat to Comey.

In the tweet, Trump also warned Comey about leaking to the press: "James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!" Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

For a White House accustomed to bouts of chaos, Trump's handling of Comey's firing could have serious and long-lasting implications.

Whoever is selected for the position will face intense scrutiny from Democrats and Republicans and will be responsible for overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, along with the typical responsibilities of managing an agency of over 35,000 employees. While acting Director Andrew McCabe wouldn't tell Congress on Thursday what Comey did or didn't say, he seemed to imply Trump's account was not wholly accurate.

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The FBI director serves a 10-year term but can be replaced by the president.

"It's good to be back with you", Spicer said before introducing Gen. H.R. McMaster, who gave an overview of the president's upcoming trip to the Middle East and Europe. "He can hire and fire whoever he wants", Haley said.

The other two times Trump said he asked Comey whether he was under investigation were in telephone conversations. He's viewed even senior advisers suspiciously, including Bannon and Priebus, when stories about internal White House drama land in the press. At a one-on-one dinner at the White House in January, Trump asked Comey to pledge his loyalty to the president and Comey declined, instead offering to be honest with him, according the person, who requested anonymity to discuss private conservations.

In an interview with Fox News Friday, Trump declined to comment on whether he has listening devices in the White House. Republicans hold 52 seats in the chamber to Democrats' 48. Before Comey tapped him to lead the Richmond office in 2014, he was section chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, investigating some of the highest profile cases against government officials and civil rights violations in recent years.

Apparently stung by media scrutiny over shifting accounts of how and why Comey was sacked, Trump suggested he may call off daily media briefings at the White House.

Spicer called the coverage of changing stories behind Comey's dismissal miss the point. "I was going to fire regardless of (their) recommendation", Trump said in an interview with NBC's Lester Holt, calling Comey a "showboat" and "grandstander" who led the agency into turmoil. "He's a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line". Spicer said Trump wanted to "choose a leader who can restore leadership" and boost flagging morale. The White House has said Comey's firing was unrelated to the Russian Federation probe.

On Capitol Hill this week, Cornyn told reporters he's not interested in the position and said in a statement Friday, "I have the distinct privilege of serving 28 million Texans in the United States Senate, and that is where my focus remains".

Other reports by GizPress

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