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Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report

Kelly Ayotte among candidates to be FBI director: report

Former Sen. Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteAudit finds US Defense Department wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars US sends A-10 squadron to Afghanistan for first time in three years No, the US did not spend million on a gas station in Afghanistan MORE (R-N.H.) is reportedly a contender to replace former FBI Director James Comey.

Ayotte is on the list of candidates while two allies of President Trump – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) – are not under serious consideration, Politico reported Thursday, citing two U.S. government officials.

One official told Politico that Ayotte’s stock rose with the Trump administration after successfully leading the nomination process for Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Sen. Jeanne ShaheenCynthia (Jeanne) Jeanne ShaheenOvernight Defense: VA chief won't resign | Dem wants probe into VA hacking claim | Trump official denies plan for 'bloody nose' N. Korea strike | General '100 percent' confident in US missile defense Trump official denies US planning 'bloody nose' strike on North Korea House Oversight Committee opens probe into sexual abuse of gymnasts MORE (D-N.H.) said that she would likely support Ayotte for the FBI role, adding the former GOP senator would likely receive bipartisan support.

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“She was attorney general of New Hampshire,” Shaheen told Politico. “And she has the experience. So I think she’d be a good candidate.”

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers worry about rise of fake video technology Democrats put Dreamers and their party in danger by playing hardball Trump set a good defense budget, but here is how to make it better MORE (R-Ariz.) echoed that sentiment, noting Ayotte’s “widespread appreciation and respect here in the Senate on both sides of the aisle.”

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Trump was also considering former Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) – a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee – and former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for the FBI post.

Politico reported that Christie and Giuliani have given advice to senior White House officials on the job. Neither man is reportedly a top candidate for FBI director, however, and it is unclear if either expressed interest to Trump in taking the post.

The White House on Tuesday announced that Trump had fired Comey, stressing that he had done so based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein.

But Trump in an interview Thursday said he had made up his mind about firing Comey before receiving the written Justice Department memo from Rosenstein that recommended Comey's dismissal.

“I was going to fire regardless of the recommendation,” Trump told NBC News’s Lester Holt.

Trump’s decision stunned Washington, with many lawmakers questioning the timing of the dismissal, which came amid the bureau's probe into Moscow's efforts to influence the 2016 election and possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.