For Some Reason, Merrick Garland Is Being Floated As FBI Director

FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. ... FILE - In this April 14, 2016 file photo, Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s choice to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, arrives for a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington. This week marks 21 years since the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It’s a case that was a defining moment in the career of Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. At the time of the bombing, Garland was 42 years old and a top lieutenant to Attorney General Janet Reno. He was chosen to go to Oklahoma City, the highest-ranking Justice Department official there, and led the prosecution for about a month until a permanent lead prosecutor was named. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

Why would President Donald Trump nominate to lead the FBI the same judge whose nomination to the Supreme Court Senate Republicans effectively filibustered a year ago?

It’s a good question. But Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) floated the idea on Twitter Thursday that Merrick Garland should be the next FBI director after James Comey’s sudden ouster.

It’s almost inconceivable that Trump would nominate Garland to lead the FBI, and in turn to take charge of the same investigation into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia that reportedly pushed Trump to fire Comey.

But at least one Democratic senator, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), appeared to be on board with the proposal. (Klobuchar later hedged, noting “to be clear, this isn’t going to happen,” but that it was “a good idea for Rs to think about consensus FBI candidates.”)

The notion seems to have sprouted Wednesday night on the conservative website The Daily Caller. Kevin Daley wrote, “The strength of his resume alone could make Garland a serious candidate.”

Way down at the bottom of his piece, Daley noted what seemed like a more earnest calculation: “His appointment would also open a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Democratic appointees have a 7-4 advantage on the court, widely considered the second most important in the country, as it has jurisdiction over most federal agencies,” he wrote. “Trump’s allies in conservative legal circles would relish the prospect of another GOP appointee on the panel.

A spokesperson for Lee, Conn Carroll, told the Daily Beast: “He’s been sharing this idea with other Senate staff, and communicated this to the White House. It’s something we want the administration to take seriously. There was some interest [from White House staff].”

Klobuchar responded eagerly, at first

Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes pointed out the obvious flaw, already noted as a benefit by Daley: Garland would think twice before giving up a lifetime appointment on the extremely influential D.C. Court of Appeals to serve a 10-year term as FBI director, one which Trump demonstrated Tuesday he is willing to abruptly cut short.

This post has been updated.

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. If he were to be appointed special counsel, would he have to give up his appellate court seat?
    If not, Rod(less) Rosenstein should appoint him special counsel.
    If so, fuggedaboutit!
    Nice try, Repugs.

  2. I hear the entire Ninth Circuit is being considered for White House Usher.

  3. Drumpfie probably figures, in his addled head, that Dems will jump on board if he gives Merrick a consolation prize.

  4. Yep. Removing sane judges from the bench sounds great to Trump.

  5. Sounds like they’re desperate to get Garland off that court so Trump can nominate a crazed lunatic conservative douche as his replacement.

Continue the discussion at

19 more replies


Avatar for system Avatar for paulw Avatar for austin_dave Avatar for squirreltown Avatar for irasdad Avatar for Lacuna-Synecdoche Avatar for sniffit Avatar for johnscotus Avatar for cd Avatar for carl_brutananadilewski Avatar for keninmn Avatar for captaincommonsense Avatar for kitty Avatar for dickweed Avatar for khaaannn Avatar for buzz Avatar for appalachianne Avatar for caltg Avatar for lizzymom Avatar for jbartolo Avatar for canyoncountry Avatar for charliedontsurf Avatar for socalista Avatar for machine_planet

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: