The surprise firing of FBI director James Comey on Tuesday quickly ignited speculation about who could be next in line as head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
President Donald Trump notified Comey, who was leading an investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, of his termination via a letter Tuesday.
“While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation, I nevertheless concur with the judgment of the Department of Justice that you are not able to effectively lead the bureau,” Trump wrote, The New York Times reported.
Comey was appointed to a 10-year term in 2013 by former Democratic President Barack Obama. He oversaw the bureau's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server and notoriously cleared her of any criminal charges, only to briefly reopen the investigation just days before the 2016 presidential election.
Here are some possible replacements to head the FBI:
1. Chris Christie — The New Jersey governor, a former U.S. attorney, was one of Trump's top surrogates and supporters during his presidential campaign last year. Although he was passed up for other positions, he has remained loyal to the president and was recently appointed to his opioid and drug abuse commission, according to CNN. He could, though, be seen as too partisan for the position, which is supposed to be independent.
2. Rudy Giuliani — Giuliani also served as a U.S. attorney and former mayor of New York City. He was in the mix for several top posts after Trump was elected president. Like Christie, he may be seen as too partisan for the position.
3. Andrew McCabe — McCabe is currently serving as acting FBI director and has been a special agent at the agency for more than 20 years. McCabe, who has served under Democratic and Republican administrations, had been Comey's deputy director since February 2016. His connection with Comey could be a drawback, CNN noted.
4. Dana Boente — Another name swirling around is Dana Boente. Currently No. 3 at the Justice Department, the former acting deputy attorney general and acting attorney general is “considered a trusted, experienced prosecutor who Attorney General Jeff Sessions might want to keep around,” according to CBS News.
5. John Pistole — USA Today reported that Pistole, now president of Anderson University, was a former deputy director of the FBI who has earned praise for his leadership with the Transportation Security Administration.
6. Michael Mason — Mason, a former executive assistant FBI director, was identified as possible candidate by some current and former FBI agents. He led the agency's criminal and cyber investigations, coordinated international operations, and headed the bureau's crisis response operation before leaving.
7. Ray Kelly — The former police commissioner of New York City, Kelly's name has been floated before as possible director of the FBI. With a long resume of law enforcement credentials, Kelly served under former President Bill Clinton as uUndersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at Treasury and Commissioner of the United States Customs service, according to CNN.
8. Mike Rogers — The former Michigan representative, former House Intelligence Committee chairman, and former FBI agent could also have a shot at replacing Comey, according to Newsmax’s White House correspondent John Gizzi.
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