The J. Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) building stands in Washington, D.C., Aug. 8, 2013.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Trump stumbles while looking for a new FBI director


As part of his deeply unfortunate response to the latest terror attack in London, Donald Trump declared his intention to “get down to the business of security for our people.” He then went golfing for a few hours.

Before hitting the links, the president didn’t specify what getting down to business would entail, exactly, but if Trump had a director of the FBI, it’d be a helpful step in the right direction.

It’s been nearly a month since the president fired then-FBI Director James Comey because of Trump’s concerns about the counter-espionage investigation Comey was leading, and as is too often the case, the White House hadn’t lined up a successor before making the move.

Four days after the firing, Trump pledged to move quickly to nominate a new director. A few days after that, the president said he was “very close” to announcing Comey’s replacement.

And yet, here were are, more than two weeks later, waiting for an announcement. Reuters reported the other day that the process of finding a new director isn’t going especially well in part because of the president’s role.

President Donald Trump is still looking for a new FBI director more than three weeks after he fired James Comey, and sources familiar with the recruiting process say it has been chaotic and that job interviews led by Trump have been brief. […]

Those conversations, which followed initial interviews at the Justice Department, have been light on questions about substantive issues facing the agency, the three associates said.

According to Reuters’ reporting, one prospective director reportedly described the process as “chaotic” and said that in one interview, “Trump spoke mostly about himself and seemed distracted.”

That’s very easy to believe. By all appearances, the president has no meaningful understanding of what an FBI director does, so the fact that he’s involved in the interview process is bound to be a hindrance.

I just hope Trump doesn’t hand copies of the 2016 electoral map to those under consideration.

Part of the challenge goes beyond simply finding the right person for the job; it also involves someone who actually wants the job. Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) was under consideration, but withdrew. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) soon after did the same thing.

The fact that these three were even considered was odd – we’ve never had a politician serve as a permanent FBI director before – but I imagine Trump was looking for someone he’s seen on television, and those with lengthy careers in federal law enforcement are less widely recognized.

Donald Trump and FBI

Trump stumbles while looking for a new FBI director