Trump says ‘fast decision’ possible on new FBI director

FILE - In this May 4, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Trump, in an apparent warning to his fired FBI director, said Friday, May 12, 2017, that James Comey had better hope there are no "tapes" of their conversations. Trump's tweet came the morning after he asserted Comey had told him three times that he wasn't under FBI investigation. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Saturday that “we can make a fast decision” on a new FBI director, possibly by late next week, before he leaves on his first foreign trip since taking office.

“Even that is possible,” Trump told reporters when asked whether he could announce his nominee by Friday, when he is scheduled to leave for the Mideast and Europe.

Eight candidates to be the bureau’s director were in line Saturday for the first interviews with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, at Justice Department headquarters. They are among more than a dozen candidates Trump is considering, a group that includes several lawmakers, attorneys and law enforcement officials.

“I think the process is going to go quickly. Almost all of them are very well-known,” Trump said aboard the plane that took him to Lynchburg, Virginia, where he gave the commencement address at Liberty University. “They’ve been vetted over their lifetime essentially, but very well-known, highly respected, really talented people. And that’s what we want for the FBI.”

The Trump administration is looking to fill the job, which requires Senate confirmation, after Trump abruptly fired Director James Comey on Tuesday.

The first candidate to arrive was Alice Fisher, a high-ranking Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration.

Among those interviewed was Adam Lee, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond, Virginia, office. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe also interviewed for the permanent post despite his repeated willingness to break from White House explanations of Comey’s ouster and its characterizations of the Russia investigation.

Also interviewed Saturday were Michael J. Garcia, a former prosecutor and associate judge on New York’s highest court; GOP Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate leader and a former Texas attorney general; and U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a George W. Bush appointee who struck down the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health care law in 2010.

Frances Townsend, former homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush, and former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers also met with Justice officials.

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