Mike Lee wants Trump to nominate Merrick Garland for FBI director
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeConservatives balk over funding bill ahead of shutdown  Overnight Defense: Senate sides with Trump on military role in Yemen | Dem vets push for new war authorization on Iraq anniversary | General says time isn't 'right' for space corps Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support MORE (R-Utah) floated on Thursday that President Trump should nominate Merrick Garland, former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaYou just can't keep good health policy down Obama Foundation announces new job training program for Chicago students Biden praises Parkland students fighting for gun reform: ‘They’re going to win’ MORE's Supreme Court nominee, to be the next FBI director. 

"Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey," Lee wrote on Twitter Thursday morning. 

Lee's spokesman said he raised the idea with White House staff after a Wednesday meeting on tax reform at the White House.

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley on Trump calling Putin: 'I wouldn't have a conversation with a criminal' Lawmakers zero in on Zuckerberg GOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee MORE (R-Iowa), the chairman of the committee with oversight of the FBI, declined to comment on Lee's suggestion.

Lee previously backed the GOP strategy to refuse to give Garland a hearing or a vote last year on his nomination to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016, a move that infuriated Democrats and allowed Trump to fill the vacancy. 
Conn Carroll, a spokesman for Lee, added that he wasn't joking about making the Obama nominee the head of the FBI.
"He's eminently qualified and has the reputation needed to restore public confidence in FBI," he told The Hill, asked about why Lee would suggest Garland. 
Carroll added on Twitter that Garland "has extensive prosecutorial experience including overseeing the OKC bombing investigation."
Garland, then working for the Department of Justice, helped oversee the investigation and prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing. 
Whoever succeeds James Comey — whom Trump fired Tuesday — would be responsible for overseeing the FBI's investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's presidential election and any possible connections between members of Trump's campaign and Moscow.
The next FBI director will only need 51 votes to clear the Senate after Democrats changed the rules for executive nominations during the Obama administration, meaning Trump could clear his pick through without help from Democrats.
If Trump nominated Garland, that would also open up a seat on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, allowing Trump to fill the vacancy.
Lee's suggestion appeared to immediately get the support of at least one colleague. GOP Sen. Steve Daines (Mont.) retweeted Lee's suggestion.
Updated 11:39 a.m.