Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report

Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report

Former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly AyotteOPINION: Democracy will send ISIS to the same grave as communism Kelly Ayotte joins defense contractor's board of directors Week ahead: Comey firing dominates Washington MORE (R-N.H.) is reportedly a contender to replace former FBI Director James Comey.

Ayotte is on the list of candidates while two allies of President Trump – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) – are not under serious consideration, Politico reported Thursday, citing two U.S. government officials.

One official told Politico that Ayotte’s stock rose with the Trump administration after successfully leading the nomination process for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle MORE (D-N.H.) said that she would likely support Ayotte for the FBI role, adding the former GOP senator would likely receive bipartisan support.

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“She was attorney general of New Hampshire,” Shaheen told Politico. “And she has the experience. So I think she’d be a good candidate.”

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainFrustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response Coats: Trump seemed obsessed with Russia probe The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-Ariz.) echoed that sentiment, noting Ayotte’s “widespread appreciation and respect here in the Senate on both sides of the aisle.”

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Trump was also considering former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) – a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – and former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for the FBI post.

Politico reported that Christie and Giuliani have given advice to senior White House officials on the job. Neither man is reportedly a top candidate for FBI director, however, and it is unclear if either expressed interest to Trump in taking the post.

The White House on Tuesday announced that Trump had fired Comey, stressing that he had done so based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsJustice Department developing strategies to shut down ‘sanctuary cities’: report Sally Yates slams Sessions on criminal justice reform Preet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report MORE and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

But Trump in an interview Thursday said he had made up his mind about firing Comey before receiving the written Justice Department memo from Rosenstein that recommended Comey's dismissal.

“I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation,” Trump told NBC News’s Lester Holt.

Trump’s decision stunned Washington, with many lawmakers questioning the timing of the dismissal, which came amid the bureau's probe into Moscow's efforts to influence the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.