WASHINGTON — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions today that he didn’t believe he would be the right guy for FBI director.
Gowdy has been mentioned on some shortlists to replace James Comey, along with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), former Trump transition team member and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), Bush-era Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Bush-era counterterrorism advisor Frances Townsend, and Boeing general counsel J. Michael Luttig. Besides McCabe, other career FBI officials are reportedly being considered as well.
The House was out of session when Comey’s firing hit the headlines last week, and Gowdy was away on a House Intelligence Committee “mission” before getting to sit down with Sessions on Saturday and again on Monday, the congressman said.
Gowdy, a former prosecutor who led the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said he shared with Sessions “the qualities I believe are indispensable for our next FBI director to possess” and his “firm conviction that I would not be the right person.”
“I greatly appreciate the attorney general speaking with me and respecting my decision and I wish him wisdom as he interviews potential candidates,” he added.
Gowdy stressed “how indispensable it is that we respect our justice system and that it be worthy of our respect.”
“Working in the criminal justice system, alongside the women and men of law enforcement, and in pursuit of the facts, the truth and ultimately justice is and always will be the highlight of my professional career,” he said. “The blindfolded woman holding a set of scales and a sword is the best boss I have ever had.”
He advocated that the next FBI director be a person “not only impeccable credentials but also one who can unite the country as we strive for justice and truth.”
“I am confident that person will emerge. I want to thank the scores of law enforcement officers and prosecutors who have contacted me over the past couple of days,” Gowdy said. “Perhaps we can work together again in the future.”
At a camera spray with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahyan of Abu Dhabi in the Oval Office today, President Trump said only that the search for a new FBI chief was “moving rapidly.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that once the Justice Department finishes their search, “they’ll present names for consideration to the president — but they are the ones that are leading that effort.”
“I think, obviously, he wants someone with high integrity and the leadership skills to lead the entity,” Spicer said. “But I have not specifically discussed the qualities with him.”
Spicer did not say when asked whether the president wants a law enforcement professional or a politician for the job.