Sen. Cornyn Tells Trump Administration He's Not Interested in FBI Director Job

Cameron Gross
May 17, 2017

Cornyn said in a statement that he had informed the White House that "the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the US Senate". Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC declined Monday, leaving former Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers as the only name still under official consideration with partisan political experience.

"He didn't recuse from being attorney general", Cornyn told reporters.

He took the opposite position during the 2016 election, joining fellow Republicans in asking for a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton's use of a private email server for government business.

But if Trump nominates Cornyn, Senate Republicans would be forced to vote against one of their party's own leaders.

"He felt obligated to consider this because his close friend Sessions asked him to and out of a desire to restore stability to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ", said a source familiar with Cornyn's decision to interview.

"I think that for Cornyn you've got to remember some people see him as a partisan figure because he's in leadership, but he has much more of a judicial manner", said Texas political consultant Matt Mackowiak. Here's a look at Cornyn and his comments on the Russian investigation.

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Still, the top Senate Republican leader said he remained "optimistic" that Mr. Trump would pick someone in the mold of Garland.

It's unclear how seriously Cornyn was being considered for the position, but he was among several candidates interviewed over the weekend.

The explosive new development on Tuesday followed a week of tumult at the White House after Trump fired Comey and then discussed sensitive national security information about Islamic State with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "I told him I was interested in having a conversation and, basically, that's what we did", Cornyn said.

Trey Gowdy, a SC representative and former prosecutor known for his no-nonsense style in committee hearings, was another popular name from Capitol Hill to surface. So unless the conference gives Cornyn a waiver to serve longer, the senior senator from Texas will go from the number two Republican in the Senate to just another senator, albeit one with seniority.

Garland has a lifetime appointment to the bench, and leaving his post would create yet another vacancy for President Trump to fill.

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