The massive news broke late in the afternoon May 9 when the White House released a statement saying Comey had been terminated, effective immediately.
“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said in a statement.
Read below to see the recommendation letter from Sessions and the official letter from Trump to Comey notifying him that he was fired.
The statement said that a search for a new director will begin immediately.
Whoever the new nominated FBI director is, he or she must go through a full confirmation process and needs 51 votes to be confirmed by the Senate. That’s because Sen. Mitch McConnell utilized the “nuclear option” back in April to confirm Supereme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will take over for Comey while a replacement is sought.
Here are some of the candidates to replace Comey as the FBI’s director:
South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy
Gowdy is a former prosecutor and currently serves on the U.S. House of Representatives for South Carolina’s 4th congressional district. He’s a member of the Tea Party movement and also served as a solicitor for South Carolina’s Seventh Judicial Circuit.
Gowdy was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina from 1994-2000. In his time doing so, he was awarded the Postal Inspector’s Award for prosecuting J. Mark Allen.
In February 2000, Gowdy left the position to run for the 7th Circuit Solicitor and he won in the general election. He was reelected twice in his time as the solicitor and prosecuted an array of cases, including seven of them that ended with the death penalty.
There’s even been an online petition calling for Gowdy to replace Comey. It was signed by just over 1,000 people.
In July 2015, Trump tabbed Gowdy as a potential nominee for attorney general in his cabinet. Gowdy first endorsed Sen. Marco Rubio for president before endorsing Trump on May 20, 2016 because he always intended on supporting the Republican nominee.
Former NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton
Bratton is the former New York City Police Commissioner and before that served as the commissioner of the Boston Police Department and also was the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department.
He currently serves as the Vice Chairman of the Homeland Security Advisory Council.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Christie previously served as the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey from 2002-2008 under President George W. Bush. After that, he was elected the 55th governor of New Jersey and has kept the position since 2010.
In his time as U.S. Attorney, Christie received praise for his record of convictions in public corruption cases. His office won guilty pleas from 130 public officials.
Christie had a failed run at president in 2016 and even criticized Trump before bowing out of the race. However, he ended up endorsing Trump and he was named to his transition team in May 2016 if he were elected president.
Once Trump took office, Christie was considered for a position in the Trump administration, but said he wanted to finish his term as New Jersey’s governor in January 2018.
In March, Trump named Christie to chair a commission to find ways to combat the opioid abuse epidemic in the country.
Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani is the former mayor of New York City and also works as an “informal” adviser on cybersecurity to the White House. He supported Trump in his election bid and often praised him for his accomplishments and agenda.
When Trump was forming his cabinet, Giuliani was seen as a likely pick to be the new Secretary of State. But Trump announced that Giuliani removed his name from consideration for the cabinet position. Eight days before he took officer, Trump named Giuliani as an “informal cybersecurity adviser.”
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke
It seems unlikely that the search would end up with Clarke, the Milwaukee County Sheriff because he doesn’t have much experience as a prosecutor or an investigator. But crazier things have happened so far during Trump’s presidency, and his name has been thrown around as an early replacement for director.
Clarke assumed office as sheriff in Milwaukee County in 2002 and is serving his fourth full term. When Trump was running for president, Clarke said that he was going to “do everything (he could)” to help him win the presidency.
Trump and Clarke have been close throughout his presidential campaign and he even interviewed for a position in his cabinet, although that didn’t end up happening.