As we reported last night, pretty much no one within the FBI had the slightest idea that Comey’s firing was coming. Even Comey himself, according to the New York Times, learned of his dismissal on the news and thought it was just a prank.
Not surprisingly, this sudden and shocking ouster of an FBI director that has led an agency of 56 U.S. field offices and 30,000 employees for 6.5 years has created some turmoil inside the FBI. Agency staff scheduled an emergency high-level meeting last night amid speculation about who would replace Comey in the top job and explore next steps for the law-enforcement agency.
One top FBI official told Reuters that the FBI had no idea the Trump administration was considering dismissing Comey and the news “took even top officials by surprise.”
Of course, with Comey’s dismissal coming right in the middle of an investigation into Russian election meddling, the sudden move by Trump has drawn intense backlack from the left with even some Republicans calling the timing ‘troubling.’
Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was expected to step in for now, but he is unlikely to be nominated by Trump for the director’s post, said two former FBI officials.
Several names have arisen as potential Comey replacements including Dana Boente, the number 3 at the DOJ, and Trey Gowdy, a Republican Representative in Congress. That said, given the suspicions around the timing of Comey’s ouster, we suspect that any replacement will have to be viewed as somewhat non-partisan. The new director must be appointed by Trump and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
One possible contender for director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is Dana Boente, No. 3 at the Justice Department and former acting attorney general, said the two former FBI officials.
Other potential choices include Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, a former prosecutor who led a congressional inquiry into former secretary of state and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s role in the 2012 attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Close campaign allies of Trump include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, Sheriff David Clarke. But both men would be seen as highly political nominees for an agency designed to be independent.
“The White House has to avoid all the politicos if they are going to get a nominee through the Senate,” said one of the former FBI officials.
Should be a fun-filled day with plenty of mainstream media outrage. We simply can’t wait for Maxine Waters to re-assert her calls for Trump’s immediate impeachment.