McConnell Calls for ‘Less Drama’ From Trump’s White House – Bloomberg
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he’d like to see “less drama” from President Donald Trump — and wants him to choose an “apolitical” FBI director.
“I think it would be helpful if the president spent more time on things we’re trying to accomplish and less time on other things,” McConnell told Bloomberg News in an interview Tuesday.
Addressing the controversy over last week’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, the Kentucky Republican said he had recommended as a potential replacement President Barack Obama’s former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. McConnell denied Garland a confirmation hearing last year.
“I think the most important thing is for the president to pick somebody who’s apolitical, who clearly has a deep law enforcement background,” McConnell said.
An apolitical nominee would rule out contenders like McConnell’s No. 2, Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn of Texas and former Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, who were among a group of eight people interviewed over the weekend for the job by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Somebody like Garland, a judge and former federal prosecutor, would “create a kind of wow factor that the president fully understands the role of the FBI director,” McConnell said.
“Historically it’s been a solid law enforcement professional without a background in elective office,” he said. “That’s the kind of person who ought to be in the job and I think it would also make an important statement about the president himself.”
Several other Republican senators have also pushed for Trump to name someone who could get broad bipartisan support. Bob Corker of Tennessee told reporters Monday it would be “a huge mistake” to name someone who couldn’t get Democratic votes.
“They’ve got to go beyond, beyond expectations and appoint someone who coming in people would know absolutely with every cell of their body this person was going to be someone who ran the FBI in a nonpartisan way,” Corker said.
Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, however, said Monday that Democrats shouldn’t get a veto.
“Knowing Senator Schumer, he might just very well execute that veto and say, ‘Look, until we have the following demands met we’re not going to vote for anyone regardless of their qualifications,’” Rounds said.
McConnell declined to comment on reports late Monday that Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russians in an Oval Office meeting last week. The majority leader deferred to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“I’ve heard the allegation. I’ve heard the response. I don’t think I have anything to add to what I’ve read in terms of the impact of this in the future,” he said.
“Congress is engaged in investigations now. We have the Senate Intelligence Committee looking at the allegation that the Russians were somehow in collusion with the Trump campaign. And there will be daily controversies all the time. I don’t know which ones will lead to further investigation,” he said.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee will decide what they want to do,” McConnell said.
He also declined to comment on Trump’s statement to NBC last week that he was thinking of the Russia investigation when he fired Comey, or his tweet suggesting he might have tapes of his conversations with Comey.