Top Justice Department officials were scheduled to interview four candidates Saturday to serve as FBI director on a permanent basis, a source familiar with the process told POLITICO Friday night.
The four potential nominees to be interviewed are: acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), former Justice Department Criminal Division Chief Alice Fisher and New York state judge and former U.S. Attorney in Manhattan Michael Garcia, according to the source.
The FBI special agent in charge in Richmond, Adam Lee, also arrived for an interview Saturday afternoon and officials said it was possible more candidates would also be summoned. Henry E. Hudson, U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia, Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security Adviser to former President George W. Bush, and Mike Rogers, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, were also interviewed.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein were expected to conduct the interviews Saturday afternoon, the source said. Saturday’s meetings are the first wave of interviews for the FBI director nomination, but more candidates are expected to be brought in later, the source said.
Asked about the interview, Cornyn’s Senate office released a statement from him saying, “I have the distinct privilege of serving 28 million Texans in the United States Senate, and that is where my focus remains.”
Cornyn is a member of Senate Republican leadership and previously served as the Texas attorney general.
McCabe became acting director after Comey’s surprise dismissal on Tuesday. He first joined the bureau in 1996, where he investigated organized crime in New York. McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia state Senate seat in 2015, and received donations from close allies of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, which prompted calls for his recusal from the investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
Fisher served as deputy assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s criminal division from 2001 to 2003. She would be the FBI’s first female director.
New York state judge Michael Garcia was nominated as Manhattan U.S. attorney in 2005 by President George W. Bush, and appointed to the New York Court of Appeals in 2016.
Sessions and Rosenstein conducted interviews earlier this week with potential interim FBI directors. That process to find an interim director is still moving forward separately, the source said. Legal requirements limit who can serve in an acting capacity to current Justice Department officials or current Senate-confirmed political appointees.
The FBI chief job is subject to Senate confirmation and carries a 10-year term. James Comey was confirmed to the post in 2013, but was fired Tuesday by President Donald Trump.
Bianca Padró Ocasio contributed to this report.