Shortly after news broke of FBI Director James Comey being fired from his position on Tuesday, it was announced that his deputy Andrew McCabe would serve as acting director until President Donald Trump can appoint a replacement. But who will ultimately replace Comey as FBI director in the long-term? There's sizable list of Trump loyalists who may fit the vague criteria established in the letter the president penned to Comey Tuesday afternoon promising to find leadership "that restores public trust and confidence in its vital law enforcement mission."
As Trump has campaigned among law enforcement since the start of his presidential bid, it's clear that he seeks to line himself up ideologically as a tough, "law and order" type. He even said explicitly "I am the law and order candidate" while campaigning in July. So it's safe to say that Trump's choice for the leader of the country's prime federal law enforcement agency would most likely reflect that same image, while also navigating the need for the agency to be independent. Trump's pick would also hopefully mitigate the ever- increasing concerns over a potential lack of objectivity voiced by the president's various critics in Congress.
Just hours after Comey's dismissal, there are already some familiar names (and a few B-sides) mentioned so far.
1Representative Trey Gowdy
Probably known best for his somewhat dubious role in the 2015 Benghazi hearings, South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor and worked as solicitor for his state's 7th judicial circuit. (There's also a petition already floating around to have him considered for the role.)
2Governor Chris Christie
The New Jersey governor who once ran against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination has long been known for his career as a blustery U.S. attorney (notably for putting Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner's father in jail).
Like Christie, Giuliani's loyalty to the president is both a reason for his name coming up and an argument against his selection. The former mayor of New York City and U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York was one of Trump's most steadfast supporters, frequently participating in the "lock her up" rhetoric when talking about his opponent.
One of the names that was floated prior to Comey's selection in 2013, Mike Rogers was being considered for the role. While making a case for his appointment, The Hill reported that then-FBI Agents Association President Konrad Motyka said the former intelligence committee chairman and a former intelligence agent "Rogers exemplifies the principles that should be possessed by the next FBI Director."
Currently the president of Anderson University in Indiana and a pal of Comey, Pistole is a former deputy director of the FBI who was called a "major asset" by then-Director Robert Mueller in 2004. Mueller also said, upon naming Pistole to the position, that he "successfully steered two critical programs through periods of heightened threat and institutional change, and he has been instrumental to [the FBI's] overall transformation efforts."
6Sheriff David Clarke
Arguably not a likely pick for an agency that is supposed to at least appear non-partisan, the controversial Milwaukee County Sheriff — and self-proclaimed "Trumpster" — has regularly been rumored to eventually join the Trump administration.
While running for a seat in the Virginia State Senate in 2015, his wife received money from a PAC established by Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton operative, and Virginia's governor, during the FBI's investigation of Clinton's emails. Though McCabe denied any wrongdoing and said he discussed ethics matters with the FBI, it's not the clean slate that many might be looking for to follow Comey.
If Trump's selection process is in any way as fast-paced as his dismissal of Comey, America is likely to get word of his replacement pick sooner rather than later.