On Monday, Republican Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina took himself out of the running to replace Comey.
Gowdy is a former state and federal prosecutor and chaired the House select committee on Benghazi. Gowdy has been mentioned as a possible successor to Comey, but he said in a statement that he told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he was not interested in the job.
The next director will immediately be confronted with oversight of an FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign, an inquiry the bureau’s acting head, Andrew McCabe, has called ‘‘highly significant.’’
The person also will have to win the support of rank-and-file agents angered by the ouster of Comey, who was broadly supported within the FBI. The new director will almost certainly have to work to maintain the bureau’s credibility by asserting political independence in the face of a president known for demanding loyalty from the people he appoints.
Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein interviewed eight candidates Saturday, including some who were not among the names distributed a day earlier by the White House. The list includes current and former FBI and Justice Department leaders, federal judges, and Republicans who have served in Congress.