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Cornyn Could Face Senate Resistance If Tapped By Trump To Lead FBI

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wraps up his keynote address to delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.
Bob Daemmrich
Texas Tribune
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn wraps up his keynote address to delegates at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas on May 13, 2016.

If President Donald Trump picks U.S. Sen.  John Cornyn to lead the FBI, it’s not a given that the Texan would sail through the confirmation process in his own chamber.

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, on Sunday said he was uneasy about picking Cornyn — or anyone else with a political background — to succeed James Comey, who Trump last week ousted as FBI director amid the agency’s investigation into whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. 

Asked,  during an interview on NBC's Meet The Press, whether it’s the right time for Trump to pick an elected political official, Graham said no.

“I think it’s now time to pick somebody that comes from within the ranks or is such a reputation that has no political background at all,” he said. “John Cornyn is a wonderful man. Under normal circumstances, he would be a superb choice to be FBI director. But these are not normal circumstances. We’ve got a chance to reset here as a nation.”

Graham wasn’t the only senator on Sunday to suggest Cornyn could face resistance in the chamber. 

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader from New York,  told CNN’s State of the Union that Comey’s replacement should not be “a partisan politician – not in either party,” and that it should be someone who is “experienced.”

“This demands a serious down-the-middle investigation,” the Democrat said of the Trump-Russia question.

Schumer also said he supports calls to block a nomination until a special prosecutor is appointed to take over the investigation.

Cornyn has been identified as one of about a dozen contenders for the nomination. Prior to his election to the Senate in 2002, Cornyn served as Texas attorney general, a Texas Supreme Court justice and a local judge.

Tribune Washington Bureau Chief Abby Livingston contributed to this report.


From The Texas Tribune

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Jim Malewitz is an investigative reporter Tribune. He previously covered energy and environmental issues. Before arriving in 2013, he covered those issues for Stateline, a nonprofit news service in Washington, D.C. The Michigan native majored in political science at Grinnell College in Iowa and holds a master’s from the University of Iowa. There, he helped launch the nonprofit Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, where he currently serves on the board of directors. Jim also coaches the Texas Tribune Runoffs, which, sources say, is the scrappiest coed newsroom softball team west of the Mississippi.