Could Gov. Christie replace James Comey as FBI Director?
TRENTON — Could Gov. Chris Christie's ticket out of Trenton be to replace fired FBI director James Comey?
The governor's name has appeared on several lists of possible choices President Donald Trump could consider to be the next director of the FBI following the sudden dismissal of Comey on Tuesday, which the president said was necessary to restore "public trust and confidence" in the FBI.
Trump in a tweet on Wednesday morning said Comey had lost the confidence of both Democrats and Republicans."When things calm down, they will be thanking me," Trump tweeted.
Comey had come under intense scrutiny in recent months for his public comments on an investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's email practices, including a pair of letters he sent to Congress on the matter in the closing days of last year's campaign.
The FBI sent a letter to Congress on Tuesday correcting the record on Comey's testimony on Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, explaining he misspoke when he said Abedin had forwarded "hundreds and thousands" of emails to the laptop of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner.
The FBI says only a small number of the emails found on the laptop were a result of forwarding. Most occurred as a backup from other electronic devices.
Christie, an early supporter of Trump's candidacy for president after ending his own run in 2016, was considered to be a possible choice to be named Vice President after Trump locked up the nomination, or U.S. Attorney General when Trump was selecting his cabinet.
The Associated Press, CNN and Fox News said Christie's time as U.S. Attorney for New Jersey gives him a strong law enforcement background for the FBI job, which carries a 10-year term. Christie played up that background during the 2016 presidential campaign with calls to prosecute Clinton for her personal email server use.
Christie stepped down as state Attorney General to run for governor in 2009.
Trump tweeted that Comey's replacement will be "someone who will do a far better job, bringing back the spirit and prestige of the FBI."
Since Trump was elected in November, Christie has said on many occasions he was not interested in a top White House position because he wanted to focus on completing his second and final term as governor. Trump named him in March to lead a presidential panel on opioid and drug addition, a subject that has been a top issue with Christie.
During last month's "Ask the Governor" on New Jersey 101.5, however, Christie said he has been in contact with Trump and has been critical of Trump's inner circle of advisers following the early defeat of his proposed health care bill and the first travel ban on Muslim-majority countries.
Other possible FBI Director candidates include former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, former Deputy FBI Director John Pistole, and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
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, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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