President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will move quickly to nominate a new FBI director, after he sparked a political firestorm by firing the man investigating possible collusion between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign.
Trump told reporters he might even be able to make his decision on who should succeed James Comey to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation before he departs on his first foreign trip late next week.
“Even that is possible,” Trump said, speaking on Air Force One before departing for Lynchburg, Virginia, where he delivered a commencement address.
“I think the process is going to go quickly,” he said, adding that the candidates under consideration were mostly 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.”
Critics have assailed Trump for abruptly dismissing Comey, who was leading the agency’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump presidential campaign.. Russia denies the claims and the White House says there was no collusion.
Democrats cast the decision to fire Comey as an effort to obstruct the FBI’s probe, a charge the White House has denied.
While Democrats have called for an independent special counsel to investigate the Russia matter, most Republicans have said that is not necessary given the FBI probe and investigations in both the House and Senate.
White House officials initially said Trump acted on a Justice Department recommendation, but the president later said he would have fired Comey anyway, calling the former FBI chief a “showboat.”
On Friday, Trump waded back into the FBI controversy, warning Comey against talking to the media and suggesting on Twitter there may be recordings of conversations between them.
‘BE AN OUTSIDER’
Speaking on Saturday to about 50,000 people at Liberty University in Lynchburg, the nation’s largest Christian college, Trump made no mention of Comey or the controversy his dismissal on Tuesday caused. It was Trump’s first public event outside the White House since Comey’s ouster.
A White House official has said Trump is considering 11 people to replace Comey. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Republican Senator John Cornyn, New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher will be interviewed on Saturday for the post, an administration official said.
The decision is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, where Republicans have a majority.
At Liberty, Trump peppered his remarks with the kind of anti-establishment rhetoric that fueled his maverick presidential campaign, telling graduates to challenge “entrenched interests.” He thanked the crowd for their support and repeatedly invoked his own unlikely election victory.
“Relish the opportunity to be an outsider,” Trump said. “The more that a broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead.”
He also had strong words that seemed aimed at critics of his administration.
“No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can’t be done,” Trump said. “Nothing is easier or more pathetic than being a critic, because they’re people that can’t get the job done.”
Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., was a key early supporter of Trump during his campaign and helped rally support among religious conservatives.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton. Writing by Roberta Rampton and James Oliphant; Editing by Alistair Bell)
World hunger on the rise with more than 820 million at risk, UN report says
More than 821 million people suffered from hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide last year, the United Nations reported Monday -- the third year in a row that the number has risen.
After decades of decline, food insecurity began to increase in 2015 and reversing the trend is one of the 2030 targets of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
But getting to a world where no one is suffering from hunger by then remains an "immense challenge," the report said.
"The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World" was produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN agencies including the World Health Organization.
‘It’s just sparkling racism’: Internet mocks the hell out of the New York Times for describing Trump’s comments as ‘racially infused’
In an analysis piece in the New York Times on Sunday, chief White House correspondent opted to describe President Donald Trump’s overtly racist comments on Democratic congresswomen color as “racially infused” — an euphemism one Twitter user joked is “the worst flavor of LaCroix.”
Trump over the weekend caused an uproar in the media by tweeting the following:
Fox News’ John Roberts tells Trump to his face: ‘White nationalists are finding common cause with you’
Fox News reporter John Roberts asked President Donald Trump to his face whether he cared that white nationalists agreed with his views on race.
The president provoked widespread outrage by calling on four Democratic congresswomen -- all women of color -- to leave the country because they disagreed with his policies, and Trump insisted his tweets were not racist while continuing to lob bigoted attacks at them.
"Mr. President," Roberts asked during an impromptu Monday news conference, "does it concern you that many people saw that tweet as racist, and that white nationalist groups are finding common cause with you on that point?"