Who could replace Comey as FBI director?

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After President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the White House said the search for his replacement is already in full swing.

Comey was supposed to be FBI director for at least 6.5 more years. But hours after he was fired, Trump promised the next FBI director will "do a far better job" and restore the "prestige" of the department. Vice President Mike Pence, on Capitol Hill, echoed that sentiment.

"Director Comey had lost the confidence of the American people," Pence said. "It was time for a fresh start."

A permanent replacement will need Senate confirmation. So far, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has dismissed the idea of a special prosecutor to handle the Russia investigation.

"Once the Senate receives a nomination to fill this position we'll look forward to a full, fair, and timely nomination process," he said.

Democrats, though, remain almost completely united in calling for an independent counsel.

"They need a leader to make decisions, ultimate decisions, which may be tough about whether to bring charges and go to court," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said. "Only a special prosecutor can do that work under these difficult circumstances."

Several names are being floated on the list to be the next FBI director. One name on that list is Ray Kelly, the longtime New York police commissioner who oversaw the force in the years following 9/11. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who both have strong resumes as federal prosecutors, could also be considered. But Giuliani told The Atlantic he is not in the running.

"We got a chance for a fresh start. The burden is now on the president to pick somebody that, if possible, can unite the country," Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said. "I do not know if that's possible now."

Fox News reported South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy, who led the House investigation into the Benghazi attacks, is a possibility. And the long shot wild card could be the polarizing Milwaukee County sheriff and hardcore Trump surrogate David Clarke.

"The White House's timing here was less than impeccable and I think the president's selection of a new FBI director may be the most important selection he will make while he is president," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said.

Ahead of a permanent replacement, Justice Department leaders are interviewing four to five current senior staff members of the FBI. One of them could be selected as interim chief. Some insiders say selecting someone from within the department would show the dismissal was about Comey's performance and not the Russia probe.