The next order of business for the Trump/Sessions Justice Department is to select James Comey’s permanent replacement. In this regard, the phrase of the day is “beyond reproach.” The administration, we are told, must find a replacement who is beyond reproach — someone respected by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Unfortunately, such individuals are in short supply. As I put it earlier this year: “There are few honest brokers any more, and fewer still who are acknowledged as honest brokers once they find themselves in the middle of a political controversy.”
Ironically, Comey was once considered the most honest of brokers. He was lionized for standing up to top White House aides Alberto Gonzales and Andy Card over Bush administration surveillance policy. Look what has happened to him.
Rod Rosenstein, the man who recommended that Comey be fired, is another example. Dana Milbank writes: “Rosenstein, who had a sterling reputation when he was confirmed two weeks ago, instantly turned himself into a Trump stooge — Trump’s Robert Bork, to continue the Nixonian parallel — Tuesday evening. David Ignatius, more sober than Milbank (but who isn’t?), said: “Rosenstein has been widely praised as a prosecutor, but his long, rambling letter supporting Comey’s removal was closer to a civics lesson than a lawyerly statement.”
Obviously, Trump must nominate an FBI director with a good reputation. But he shouldn’t try to find someone Democrats like. The Democrats smell blood. They won’t like anyone they doubt will deliver it.
The focus instead should be on selecting someone Rosenstein trusts — someone Rosenstein believes will provide quality leadership (especially in the area of counter-terrorism) and, insofar as the investigation into Russia, etc. is concerned, will evaluate the facts fairly, devoid of any agenda. It will also help if the nominee is trusted by Sen. Richard Burr, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who likes Comey and has expressed concern about his firing.
As far the Democrats are concerned, the only goal should be to find a nominee whom they have nothing on.