Is Congressman Dave Reichert, the Eastside’s long-time Republican representative, a candidate to become the next FBI director?
Politico’s Playbook Power Briefing has listed the 8th Congressional District representative and former King County sheriff as a potential candidate.
In an email on Thursday, Reichert spokesperson Breanna Deutch wrote, “We have not been contacted. However, the Congressman has always considered every opportunity to serve our country.”
President Donald Trump was reportedly interviewing four other candidates on Saturday, but the New York Times said there was no clear timeline for a selection and that other people were under possible consideration. Reichert was not mentioned among any of the possibilities.
In the wake of Trump’s abrupt firing of James Comey as FBI head, Politico suggests the choice has to be “someone who can glide through the Senate, appear independent to lawmakers but convince Trump he is a loyal soldier.”
Reichert might have advantages on all those counts: Members of Congress usually receive easier handling in confirmation hearings by the Senate. Reichert has occasionally broken with his party to cast independent votes, including in the recent health care fight in the U.S. House. And in a Crosscut Facebook Live interview earlier this week, Reichert spoke respectfully of Trump and his efforts to convince him and other moderate Republican members of Congress to support the health bill.
The representative, however, did not endorse Trump for president and said in October that he wouldn’t personally vote for him, because of Trump’s lewd comments in a 2005 video recording about his ability to get away with groping women. And the Saturday account by the Times mentions that Trump still harbors ill feelings to some of the potential FBI nominees who have criticized him in the past.
In an interview we did together in February, he reiterated his disgust with the comments, saying they amounted to a confession of sexual assault. And he noted that he had been alarmed by Trump’s comments belittling the service of some military veterans.
He also talked about the need to follow the facts on allegations of Russian influence.
The February interview also showed that Reichert differs with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on immigration and, in particular, the effects on public safety of having local police looking to arrest undocumented residents.
Here he is on immigration in general and the president’s first travel ban; local law enforcement agencies and undocumented residents; and the media, one more issue where he seems to differ with the president:
However, Reichert has repeatedly said, including in Tuesday’s interview, that Trump should release his income tax returns but that the president, like every other citizen, is generally protected by the law from being forced to release the returns. Reichert has voted against motions to demand the returns.
Reichert served as King County sheriff for 13 years, including when the so-called Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, was arrested.
Reichert often refers to his years in law enforcement when talking about issues he faces in Congress. In the interview on Tuesday, Reichert explained how he came to his recent no vote on the Republican-led American Health Care Act. He noted how the House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise were pressing him for a yes vote and did not want him to leave their office until he did so. Reichert told them, he wouldn’t commit, saying, “I’ve been on the other side of this interrogation, two-on-one stuff before.”
This story, which was first published at 1:40 p.m. on May 11, was updated on May 12 and 13. A link to a transcript of the May 9 interview was added on May 16.