McConnell stresses importance of confirming new FBI director

McConnell stresses importance of confirming new FBI director
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Energy: California, 23 other states sue Trump over vehicle emissions rule | Climate strike protests hit cities across globe | Interior watchdog expands scope of FOIA investigation | Dems accuse officials of burying climate reports Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Liberal super PAC launches browser extension replacing 'Mitch McConnell' with 'Moscow Mitch' MORE (R-Ky.) steered clear of weighing in on President Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, instead stressing that it's important for the Senate to confirm his successor. 

“Once the Senate receives a nomination, we look forward to a full, fair, and timely confirmation process to fill the Director position," McConnell said in a statement. 

He added that the FBI director is a "critical role that is especially important as America faces serious threats at home and abroad."

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Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

The president argued in a letter to Comey that the FBI needs a new leader so it can restore "pubic trust and confidence."

McConnell's statement comes as Trump's decision has brought mixed reaction from GOP senators.

GOP Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition Zuckerberg woos Washington critics during visit Paul objection snags confirmation of former McConnell staffer MORE (Texas), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Trump: 'Great to see' Pelosi plan to lower drug prices Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices MORE (Iowa) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate Judiciary Committee requests consultation with admin on refugee admissions Trump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Trump judicial picks face rare GOP opposition MORE (S.C.) each offered support for Trump. 

Cornyn, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said while he was "surprised" by the decision, Comey has "been at the center of controversy" and Trump's letter made it clear that "he lost confidence in him."

Meanwhile GOP Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP Michelle Malkin knocks Cokie Roberts shortly after her death: 'One of the first guilty culprits of fake news' Arizona Democratic Party will hold vote to censure Sinema MORE (Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' MORE (Tenn.) — who both wield influence on foreign policy and national security issues — offered more tepid statements. 

McCain, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, said he was disappointed, while Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, said the timing will "raise questions." 

"It is essential that ongoing investigations are fulsome and free of political interference until their completion," Corker said in a statement. 

The FBI, along with the House and Senate intelligence panels, has been investigating possible contact between Trump campaign officials and Russia.