President Trump pledged Saturday to move quickly to name a new FBI director as senior Justice Department officials began interviewing potential replacements for ousted FBI chief James Comey.
"We can make a fast decision," Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Lynchburg, Va., to deliver a commencement address at Liberty University.
Trump said it was "possible" that he would name a new FBI director before leaving for an overseas trip next Friday.
"I think the process is going to go quickly," he said. "Almost all of them are very well known. They've been vetted over their lifetime, essentially. But very well known, highly respected, really talented people. And that's what we want for the FBI."
Candidates for the top law enforcement post began arriving at the Justice Department on Saturday for interviews with Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Among those being interviewed on Saturday were Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe; Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection MORE (R-Texas); Alice Fisher, a former assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department's criminal division; and Judge Michael J. Garcia of the New York Court of Appeals.
More candidates are expected to meet with Sessions and Rosenstein in the coming days. The position requires Senate confirmation.
The Trump administration is said to be considering nearly a dozen candidates for FBI director. A list reported by The Associated Press includes a number of current and former lawmakers, attorneys and career law enforcement officials.
The search for a new FBI director comes in the wake of Trump's abrupt termination of Comey on Tuesday.
The decision to fire Comey, who was three years into a 10-year term, sparked speculation over the timing and reasoning of the dismissal, which came amid the FBI's probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during last year's presidential election.
The White House has denied that the FBI's Russia probe spurred Trump's decision, saying that he fired Comey based on the recommendations of Sessions and Rosenstein.
But Trump contradicted that account in a sweeping interview with NBC's Lester Holt on Thursday, saying he would have fired Comey regardless of the Justice Department recommendation. He also acknowledged he was thinking about probes into Russia when he decided to fire Comey.