GOP senator defends Sessions's role in finding next FBI director

GOP senator defends Sessions's role in finding next FBI director
© Greg Nash

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Utah) on Sunday defended Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRhode Island announces plan to pay DACA renewal fee for every 'Dreamer' in state Mich. Senate candidate opts for House run instead NAACP sues Trump for ending DACA MORE’s role in finding James Comey’s replacement as FBI director.

“I completely disagree with the suggestion that [Attorney General Jeff Sessions] has to detach himself from the process of finding an FBI director,” Lee told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” in response to a Democratic senator's comments earlier on the show advocating that Sessions step back from the search process.

“As attorney general, he’ll be working with the FBI director in a whole lot of cases, involving a whole lot of matters that have nothing to do with anything as to which Attorney General Sessions has recused himself, so I completely disagree. I couldn’t disagree more with that suggestion,” Lee continued.

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Democrats have criticized Sessions for first recusing himself from the Russia investigation and then inserting himself with a recommendation to President Trump to fire FBI Director James Comey amid the probe.

Sessions has met with eight possible candidates to fill the role, which was vacated Tuesday following Comey's dismissal.

Lee praised the list of eight candidates and reiterated his support for Judge Merrick Garland to be considered for the directorship.

“It looks like a good list. I agree that it needs to be someone with a lot of credibility in law enforcement, it is one of the reasons I suggested Merrick Garland the other day,” he said.

Then-President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE nominated Garland to the Supreme Court last year, but Republicans blocked his nomination.

Lee’s initial support of Garland as FBI director last week came as a shock to many.

“I think it is a great suggestion, I’m absolutely serious about it. This is a very different post than putting him on the Supreme Court of the United States,” Lee said on Sunday, praising Garland’s prosecutorial experience.

Lee said Garland would receive bipartisan support, which is an important factor for the FBI role.