Republican senator floats Merrick Garland as FBI director

Republican senator floats Merrick Garland as FBI director

President Barack Obama leads Chief Judge Merrick Garland back to the Oval Office in March 2016 after announcing his nomination to the Supreme Court. (White House photo)

WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted Thursday that President Donald Trump should tap President Barack Obama’s unconfirmed Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland to head the FBI.

Lee framed the proposal as an alternative to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

While Garland may sound like a strange choice, the current chief judge on the U.S. District Court for the D.C. circuit served in the Justice Department’s criminal division as a deputy assistant attorney general during the Clinton administration.

Chief Judge Merrick Garland (Peter Souza/White House photo)

Garland also served as a principal deputy to Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick, who was reportedly on Obama’s shortlist to replace then-FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) seemed warm to Lee’s proposal, but said that a special prosecutor still should be appointed.

Lee tweeted his response.

Obama named Garland as his nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the high court in March 2016, but Senate Republicans refused to move forward on his confirmation, arguing that Obama should not be able to name a replacement in his final year in office.

Trump terminated James Comey as FBI director on Tuesday, citing a recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Andrew McCabe, Comey’s deputy, has been named acting FBI director.

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