Utah Sen. Mike Lee encouraged President Donald Trump on Thursday to resist Democrats’ calls for a special prosecutor to lead an investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials.
Instead, the Republican senator encouraged the president to name a replacement for James Comey, the FBI director who was fired Tuesday, who could get Democratic support in the Senate, which would have to confirm Trump’s nominee to a 10-year term.
“Instead of a special prosecutor, @realDonaldTrump should nominate Merrick Garland to replace James Comey,” Lee tweeted, likely facetiously.
Former President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the Supreme Court in the final year of his presidency. Garland, however, was blocked by Senate Republicans, who maintained that voters should have a say in who filled the seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Trump won the presidential election in November and nominated Neil Gorsuch in January. Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court last month after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell invoked the so-called nuclear option, reducing the 60-vote threshold to confirm Supreme Court nominees to a simple majority.
Despite past criticisms of Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, Democrats blasted Trump for abruptly firing the FBI director and called for a special prosecutor or independent commission to take over Comey’s investigation into Trump allies’ potential collusion with Russians.
POLITICO reported Wednesday a list of 11 possible contenders to replace Comey based on interviews with current and former officials. Garland didn’t make the cut.