U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., an influential member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday it would not be a good idea for President Donald Trump to name Texas Sen. John Cornyn or any other politician to replaces James Comey as FBI director.
“John Cornyn under normal circumstances would be a superb choice to be FBI director,” Graham said on Meet the Press. “But these are not normal circumstances.”
Graham was asked by Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, “In this political environment, do you think it is the right time to have the first ever FBI director with an elected political background, which is what it would be if either (former U.S. Rep.) Mike Rogers or John Cornyn were named.”
“No,” Graham replied. “I think it’s now time to pick someone who comes from within the ranks or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on day one.”
“To me, it’s like appointing a judge. The president actually appoints the judge, but the judge is loyal to the law,” Graham said. “The president appoints the FBI director, but the FBI director has to be loyal to the law.”
“We got a chance to reset here as a nation,” Graham said. “The president has a chance to clean up the mess that he mostly created. He really, I think, did his staff a disservice by changing the explanation. So I would encourage the president to pick somebody we can all rally around, including those who work in the FBI.”
U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate Democratic leader, offered a similar answer when asked about the possibility of Trump choosing Cornyn.
“You know I’ve generally made it a practice, Chuck, of not commenting on nominees publicly. Let’s see who they nominate,” Schumer said. “But I, as I said, certainly somebody not of a partisan background. Certainly somebody of great experience and certainly somebody of courage.”
Cornyn and Rogers, former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent, were among eight potential nominees for the FBI job interviewed Saturday.
The others were Alice Fisher, who served in the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration; Frances Townsend, a former homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush; Adam Lee, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Richmond, Va.; acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, and Michael Garcia, a former prosecutor who serves as an associate judge on the New York Court of Appeals.
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