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 McConnellGOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation We don't need platinum to solve the debt ceiling crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble 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 CornynAbbott bows to Trump pressure on Texas election audit Senate panel advances antitrust bill that eyes Google, Facebook Democrats up ante in risky debt ceiling fight MORE (Texas), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley announces reelection bid The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Democrats argue price before policy amid scramble Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B MORE (Iowa) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump pushes back on book claims, says he spent 'virtually no time' discussing election with Lee, Graham The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden meets with lawmakers amid domestic agenda panic 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 McCainWhoopi Goldberg signs four-year deal with ABC to stay on 'The View' Collins to endorse LePage in Maine governor comeback bid Meghan McCain: Country has not 'healed' from Trump under Biden MORE (Ariz.) and Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP How leaving Afghanistan cancels our post-9/11 use of force The unflappable Liz Cheney: Why Trump Republicans have struggled to crush her  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.