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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Donald Trump may name his nomination for new FBI director before leaving this Friday on his first overseas trip as Command in Chief.
“We can make a fast decision,” Mr. Trump told reporters who were with him aboard Air Force One. “These are outstanding people that are very well known, highest level. So we can make a fast decision.”
Last week, President Trump abruptly fired the former chief, James Comey, for reportedly mishandling the department.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper criticized President Trump for Comey’s termination.
“The founding fathers, in their genius, created a system of three co-equal branches of government and a built-in system of checks and balances and I feel as though that is under assault and is eroding,” said Clapper.
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley was one of the few top administration officials who defended President Trump in the face of claims that he asked Comey for his loyalty.
“As a former governor I can tell you loyalty and trust is everything when you’re a CEO and so I can totally understand why he’s looking for loyalty and trust,” said Haley.
Congressman Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, condemned talk of loyalty amid multiple investigations into Trump campaign ties to Russia.
“Highly unethical. At a minimum unethical. If he was then trying to impede the investigation in any way, maybe beyond unethical,” he said
Over the weekend, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein interviewed at least eight candidates for the FBI director’s job, one of whom who will ultimately lead the bureau’s investigation into whether anyone in the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
Some Democrats have expressed concerns about Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia probe, being involved in the process.
“I don’t believe he should be a part of this review process if he’s going to have a true recusal,” said Sen. Mark Warner. D-VA
The President has admitted he had Russia on his mind when he terminated Comey.
“I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story,” Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt during an interview.
Senate Democrats are already discussing the possibility of blocking the President’s eventual nominee until a special prosecutor is appointed to oversee the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Lawmakers from both parties are urging the President to steer clear of picking any politicians for Comey’s replacement.
Any nominee must be confirmed by the Senate.
On Monday, President will meet with the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Also this week, he’s scheduled to meet with the leaders of Turkey and Colombia before departing Friday for a five-stop foreign swing.