With James Comey ousted as FBI director, President Donald Trump will have an opportunity to select a replacement for a new 10-year term.
The FBI in the interim will be led by Mr Comey’s top deputy, Andrew McCabe. But Mr Trump is likely to reach outside the bureau to find someone to run the storied law enforcement agency.
“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions, but today will mark a new beginning,” Mr Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
Here are some possible candidates:
The former elected Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona (1993-2016), Arpaio styled himself as ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff’. He was especially well-known for his support of Arizona’s SB1070 anti-illegal immigrant law, largely struck down by the US Supreme Court. Arpaio was also a notorious birther and investigated President Obama’s birth certificate, claiming it was a forgery. In addition, Arpaio has been accused of various types of misconduct, including abuse of power, misuse of funds, failure to investigate sex crimes, improper clearance of cases, unlawful enforcement of immigration laws, and election law violations. The Department of Justice concluded that Arpaio oversaw the worst pattern of racial profiling in US history, and subsequently filed suit against him for unlawful discriminatory police conduct. He would seem an ideal candidate.
Though his relationship with Trump has been topsy-turvy, the Governor of New Jersey has known the President for years and could bring law enforcement bona fides to the job. Christie is a former Republican-appointed US Attorney in New Jersey, and he cited that background time and again during his failed 2016 presidential campaign. His legacy as Governor took a hit, however, with a Bridgegate scandal that was investigated by the FBI, prosecuted by the Justice Department, and brought down some of his allies. But the President would find the Governor’s complete lack of personal integrity, as demonstrated in last year’s political campaign, a plus.
A wild-card, but the outspoken and polarising Wisconsin Sheriff has been a fierce supporter of Trump and even landed a speaking spot at last summer’s Republican National Convention. A conservative firebrand known for his cowboy hat, Clarke has called himself “one of those bare-knuckles fighters” and has been critical of what he called the “hateful ideology” of the Black Lives Matters movement. But he’d be a long shot given that a county jury recently recommended criminal charges against seven Milwaukee County jail staffers in the dehydration death of an inmate who went without water for seven days. In addition, it seems highly unlikely that either the President or the Attorney General would actually want to work with a black man.
Another outsider, Deputy Leonard ‘Lap” Dawg has served in a variety of law enforcement positions across the Southern United States, including the states of Florida, Mississippi, and Tennessee. In those posts, he accumulated extensive experience protecting his produce from Muskie and Vince, battling peculiar locals, and trying to please the Sheriff. But Dawg’s often overly-friendly relationship with criminal elements should also come in handy in his exchanges with White House personnel. On a personal level, he and the President are already known to golf together frequently and to engage in Dawg’s favorite pastime, fishin’ for catfish.
The former New York Mayor is a close campaign ally of Mr Trump. While this would appear to put him among the President’s top choices, his clear partisanship would make it difficult for him to be confirmed by the Senate. Democrats were certainly not impressed by his anti-Clinton comments before the election. He noted, for example, that “When I see her, I see her in an orange jumpsuit, I’m sorry. Or at least a striped one.” One former FBI official doubted Giuliani would get the nod. “The White House has to avoid all the politicos if they are going to get a nominee through the Senate. Plus,” the official said, “he’s mad as a hatter.”
The South Carolina Republican led the partisan House committee investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s actions surrounding the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Gowdy is also a former federal prosecutor who boasts of his work on drug trafficking, bank robberies and child pornography cases. He was among partisan lawmakers critical of Comey’s decision not to prosecute Clinton in the email server investigation. Gowdy said after Comey’s firing that though he had partisan differences with the former FBI director on some matters, he “never lost sight of the fact that he had a very difficult job.” “I remain grateful, too,” Gowdy added, “that he cost Clinton the election.”
J Edgar Hoover
As longtime Director of the FBI (1924-1972), Hoover’s credentials are obvious. Indeed, he may be an ideal fit. In his first forty-eight years as Director, Hoover did much to combine modern police techniques with political propaganda and paranoia, not least the harassment of political dissenters and activists. While he has expressed no opinion on Trump and Comey before now, they are widely believed to have similar views on a number of issues. Like the President, he has shown little concern about violating civil liberties for the sake of national security rooted in alternative facts. And while Hoover may formally be prohibited from being chosen by the rule limiting the directorship to a single ten-year term and by his death, such facts have not previously stopped the President from acting.
Jackson is a well-known soldier, lawyer, and statesman. He is also exceptionally qualified. He served as an Army General, Congressman, Senator, and Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court before his election to the presidency. As a Democrat, indeed the founder of the Party, Jackson might even get some support from across the political aisle. The current President has long viewed Jackson as a real problem solver. But while Jackson has a common touch, his support of slavery and his role in the forced removal of native Americans are widely viewed as deplorable. In 1830, for example, Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act, relocating most members of tribes in the South to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). The relocation process dispossessed the Indians and resulted in widespread death and sickness.
A musician and political activist, Nugent has served as a special deputy sheriff in Michigan since 1982 and a reserve deputy constable in Texas. Like the President, his mindless support for the National Rifle Association and gun rights, including open and concealed carry laws, would seem to conflict with such a role in law enforcement. But his anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, and racist views would also win him much support in the current administration. In addition, Nugent called former President Obama “a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel,” as well as “a piece of shit [who should] suck on my machine gun.” Nugent received a visit from the Secret Service for these remarks, but dined at the White House just last month with Kid Rock and Sarah Palin.
(The original story appeared here.)