Gowdy takes himself out of FBI director search

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WASHINGTON (AP) Developments on Monday, May 15, about President Donald Trump’s selection of a replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey (all times Eastern Daylight Time).

  • 5:40 p.m.

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., took himself out of the running to become director of the FBI.

Gowdy is a former state and federal prosecutor and chaired the House select committee on Benghazi. Gowdy was mentioned as a possible Comey successor, but he said in a statement he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he was not interested in the job.

Gowdy said the FBI deserves a director “with not only impeccable credentials but also one who can unite the country as we strive for justice and truth, adding that he was confident such a person would emerge.

President Trump fired Comey the previous week amid questions about the FBI’s investigation of possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign.

  • 2:00 p.m.

The president said his administration was “moving rapidly” to select a replacement for Comey.

Trump said in the Oval Office the administration was working to quickly find a new FBI director. He spoke during a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the White House.

Administration staff has interviewed at least eight candidates to replace Comey, with just over half of the 14 being considered.

Trump has said a decision could come before he leaves Friday for the Mideast and Europe, his first overseas trip as president.

  • 11:23 a.m.

With Trump considering a replacement for Comey, lawmakers urged him to steer clear of appointing any politicians.

The advice came amid more criticism over Trump’s dismissal of Comey. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said the Founding Fathers created three co-equal branches of government with checks and balances, but with Trump as president, that was now “eroding.”

There was no immediate comment from the Trump administration.

Lawmakers from both parties reprimanded Trump for his actions, which included shifting explanations from administration officials for Comey’s dismissal and an ominous tweet by Trump that warned Comey against leaks to the press because Trump might have “tapes” of their conversations.

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