Republican Sen. Mike Lee believes the man blocked from becoming a Supreme Court justice should get a crack at becoming America’s top cop.
Lee on Thursday tweeted his unexpected pick to be the next FBI director: Judge Merrick Garland.
“Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey,” Lee wrote.
Comey was fired by Trump on Tuesday evening, and Andrew McCabe has been filling in as acting FBI director, though McCabe’s ascension to a permanent spot leading the FBI is widely dismissed by most observers.
“I would imagine that this might be a post that might interest [Garland] and it might be a post that he could serve in very effectively,” Lee told “America’s Newsroom” on Thursday.
Garland, the chief judge of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, was, most recently, former President Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court seat vacated when Judge Antonin Scalia died in February 2016. But Garland never received a hearing or a vote, his nomination slow-walked by Senate Republicans who argued a justice should be nominated by whoever won the upcoming 2016 presidential election. Trump won, and nominated and saw confirmed Justice Neil Gorsuch.
But as Democratic lawmakers have raised concerns about the reasons for Comey’s ouster – he was investigating Russia’s alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election and possible collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials – Lee apparently believes Garland could produce a bipartisan consensus to lead the bureau.
“I suspect the White House might I think it has some advantages to it,” Lee said. “As you point out this is someone who has a lot of bonafides as a prosecutor, he’s a prosecutor’s prosecutor, and he’s someone who’s got likely allies as a potential FBI director nominee in both political parties.”
The idea of Garland ascending to the FBI post was also floated Wednesday by The Daily Caller, which speculated Garland’s confirmation would clear a coveted seat on the influential D.C. Court of Appeals, allowing Trump to appoint a right-leaning judge. Lee’s communications director, Conn Carroll, dismissed that rationale.
“Garland is an experienced federal prosecutor who oversaw the [Oklahoma City] bombing investigation. He has the reputation necessary to restore trust in the FBI,” Carroll wrote in an email to Fox News. “This is not about the DC Circuit.”
Carroll also said Republicans’ prior opposition to Garland as a Supreme Court pick wouldn’t detract from a potential case for him to be FBI director.
“Not in any way,” Carroll said.