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Virginia FBI official among candidates for top job

WASHINGTON (AP) Justice Department leaders interviewed four veteran law enforcement and intelligence officials on Wednesday for the role of interim FBI director, officials said.

The position is currently held by Andrew McCabe of Loudoun County, top deputy to ex-FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening.

Justice Department officials identified two of the contenders as Adam Lee and Michael Anderson, who run the FBI’s field offices in Richmond and Chicago, respectively. Others are Paul Abbate, who oversees the FBI’s criminal and cyber branch, and William Evanina, the government’s chief counterintelligence officer and a former FBI supervisor.

McCabe met with Justice officials on Tuesday. It was not immediately clear how seriously he is being considered.

The interim chief would serve until Congress confirms a permanent director, which could take some time given bipartisan angst over Comey’s firing. The Senate intelligence committee said it expects McCabe to appear at a hearing Thursday on current and projected national security threats.

The acting director would be able to serve in the position without Senate confirmation.

McCabe previously supervised the FBI’s Washington field office, one of its largest, and also held leadership positions in counterterrorism and national security.

McCabe’s actions are among the decisions being scrutinized in an ongoing Justice Department inspector general probe of the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. One issue is whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Clinton case after his wife received large campaign contributions from the political action committee of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally, during her failed state Senate run.

The FBI has said that when his wife first considered running for the seat, McCabe consulted with FBI ethics officers for guidance on how to prevent actual or potential conflict of interest.

-ERIC TUCKER, Associated Press

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