U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday interviewed four potential candidates to lead the FBI — after his decision last week to fire James Comey from the post.
The fallout of that decision culminated Wednesday as three congressional committees asked Comey to testify in connection with allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
But on Monday Trump said that the search for Comey’s successor was “moving rapidly” and that he may name a candidate by the end of the week. The Senate must confirm whomever Trump nominates.
‘A good meeting’
Thus far, he’s interviewed former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and Andrew McCabe, currently the bureau’s acting director.
The White House press secretary said Trump also met with Richard McFeely, a former top FBI official, in addition to the three other candidates Wednesday.
Asked as he left the White House whether he would accept the position if Trump offered it to him, Keating replied that he was “a public servant.” He added: “Let’s just say we had a good conversation.”
Lieberman gave a thumbs up to reporters camped out on the White House driveway and said, “It was a good meeting.”
McFeely departed without comment. Reporters did not see McCabe when he left the complex.
Lieberman served in the U.S. Senate for more than two decades and was the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2000 with then-Vice-President Al Gore.
Lieberman spoke at the 2008 Republican National Convention on behalf of his friend, Arizona Sen. John McCain, and did not seek re-election in 2012. He has served as co-chairperson of No Labels, a centrist group that promotes bipartisanship.
Keating, a Republican, was a two-term governor of Oklahoma and led the state during the deadly 1995 bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City. A former FBI agent, Keating served in the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Several contenders withdrew
McCabe became acting director following Comey’s dismissal on May 9. The veteran FBI official made headlines for congressional testimony last week that rejected the White House’s claim that Comey had lost the support of rank-and-file agents. He also disputed the administration’s characterization of an investigation into potential co-ordination between Russia and the Trump White House.
Several other candidates have withdrawn from consideration, including Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, both Republicans; Alice Fisher, the former head of the Justice Department’s criminal division; and Michael Garcia, a former U.S. attorney from Manhattan.