In 93-1 vote, Senate confirms FBI nominee

The Senate voted 93-1 Monday to confirm James Comey as head of the FBI. 

The only senator to vote against Comey was Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump campaign loses two more staffers Trump's new digital strategist quickly leaves campaign Trump: Rivals who don't back me shouldn't be allowed to run for office MORE (R-Ky.), who has expressed concerns about the FBI's domestic drone program.

Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Cybersecurity: DNC hacker Guccifer 2.0 speaks out IRS inversion rules face blowback Senate faces critical vote on Puerto Rico MORE (D-Ore.) and Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Energy: Senate panel backs 0M for global climate fund Senate panel approves 0M for international climate fund The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ore.) voted present.

Comey, who worked in the Justice Department under former President George W. Bush, will succeed outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller. 

The new director is perhaps best known for his opposition to the Bush warrantless wiretapping program. He also argued against the use of water boarding as an interrogation method.

Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Finance: Obama signs Puerto Rico bill | Trump steps up attacks on trade | Dodd-Frank backers cheer 'too big to fail' decision | New pressure to fill Ex-Im board Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Lynch meeting with Bill Clinton creates firestorm for email case MORE (D-Nev.) said he was “disappointed” that he had to file a cloture motion on Comey’s nomination. 

But by the end of Monday, Republicans had agreed to hold the up-or-down vote on his nomination rather than a procedural vote to end debate.

ADVERTISEMENT
“Republicans shouldn’t let politics get in the way of confirming the next director of the FBI,” Leahy said. “I believe James Comey is the man to lead the FBI.”

Committee ranking member Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyThe Trail 2016: Meet and greet and grief Iowa poll: Clinton up 14 on Trump, Grassley in tight race with Dem Immigration protesters interrupt Jeh Johnson hearing MORE (R-Iowa) said he would support Comey’s nomination, but that this was “a serious decision” for the chamber. Grassley said that Congress’s constitutional right to “advise and consent” to executive nominees was not the same as “rubber stamping.”

Leahy vowed to push Comey, as FBI director, to limit domestic surveillance programs under the Patriot Act, which have come under recent criticism when it was leaked that the government obtained phone records of many U.S. citizens.

“Just because the federal government can collect huge amounts of data, doesn’t mean they should be,” Leahy said.

More in Trade

Senate Dems ramping up pressure for vote on Ex-Im Bank nominee

Read more »