Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn Tuesday withdrew from consideration as FBI director, saying that "the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the U.S. Senate."
"Now, more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI director," Cornyn, the Texas senator who is the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, said in a statement. "I've informed the administration that I'm committed to helping them find such an individual."
Cornyn, 65, who was first elected to the Senate in 2001, was among as many as seven candidates interviewed by Justice Department officials for the FBI post over the weekend.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recommended former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland for the position.
Two other GOP senators Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee, both of Utah, also have said that Garland should succeed James Comey, whom President Donald Trump fired, in the top FBI post.
"I have always considered public service to be a great privilege," Cornyn said in the statement. "How I can best serve my fellow Texans and my country has, and will continue to be, my guiding principle.
"Working for 28 million Texans in the U.S. Senate is an honor I never expected to have, and one I cherish each and every day," he added. "I'm eager to continue working with the administration and the rest of my colleagues to make Texas and our country stronger."
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