It’s the question everyone is asking. After President Donald Trump removed former FBI Director James Comey this week, who will be his replacement?
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Reports say Utah Sen. Mike Lee has quietly begun circulating an option among political insiders… and the person he’s suggesting as the next FBI chief is surprising.
Lee, and outspoken conservative, is suggesting that Merrick Garland should replace Comey.
Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey.
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) May 11, 2017
Garland was former President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court last year, and the suggestion has left many conservatives perplexed.
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After all, Lee was a leading voice in the GOP strategy to refuse Garland a vote last year on his nomination to the seat left vacant by Scalia’s unexpected death.
So why would Lee suggest an Obama pal as the next FBI chief?
“I would imagine that this might be a post that might interest him, and it might be a post that he could serve in very effectively,” Lee said in an appearance on Fox News Thursday.
“He’s eminently qualified and has the reputation needed to restore public confidence in FBI,” Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Lee’s office, told The Hill. Carroll added that Lee was not joking about making the Obama nominee the head of the FBI.
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However, insiders are hinting there’s more to the plan than meets the eye.
Garland would likely have support from Democrats, meaning the 51 votes Trump would need to have his nominee through the Senate would be easy to obtain.
And with Garland promoted, it would open a vacancy on the very influential D.C. Circuit Court for Trump to fill.
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It’s a clever strategy — but one Lee’s office was quick to dismiss.
“Garland is an experienced federal prosecutor who oversaw the OKC bombing investigation,” Caroll told Fox News in an email. “He has the reputation necessary to restore trust in the FBI. This is not about the DC Circuit.”
— The Horn editorial team