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FBI Director Shortlist Includes Head of Reagan’s Pornography Commission

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Washington, D.C., has plenty of fascinating political history and major political movers and shakers going about their business. My time previously living, studying and then working in Washington, D.C., had me aghast at seeing Robert Bork as a car passenger soon before his losing Supreme Court nomination hearings were underway, delighted at meeting Natan Sharansky in Foggy Bottom, bumping into Betty Friedan at two events, talking with Art Buchwald outside his office, chatting with a very friendly Jane Goodall outside her then American headquarters, seeing Carl Bernstein at the Mall the weekend before Gulf War II was launched, encouraging Bob Dole at a hotel and Bernie Sanders at his senatorial fundraiser to support marijuana legalization, bumping into Lani Guinier a few months after her aborted nomination to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and talking with Daniel Schorr at a neighbor’s annual holiday party.

Of course, interesting is not always good. It may be interesting that Trump’s shortlist of candidates to replace James Comey as FBI director includes federal trial judge Henry Hudson, who headed Ronald Reagan’s and Ed Meese’s pornography commission that produced the report against pornography and advocating the very harsh prosecutions that followed, with the prosecutions even being against what today can be viewed on the adult viewing menu at major American hotels. He does not belong as FBI director, having also had such a crabbed view of the First Amendment that he also prosecuted stores selling adult videos, on obscenity charges, when he was a prosecutor.

Then again, I do not expect Trump to pick agency heads from among candidates I like. For starters, Trump sought counsel from the late Roy Cohn, who was more than happy to help Senator Joseph McCarthy with anti-communist witch hunting.

Trump rashly fired James Comey, after blundering by communicating with Comey about the Russia investigation, probably without considering the political fallout of so unceremoniously and apparently hastily dumping a Federal Bureau of Investigator director — here with the Russia investigation underway — when traditionally FBI directors are insulated from the elections of new presidents and the whims of sitting presidents.

Great care needs to be taken in Trump’s selection of a new FBI director and in the Senate’s review of that nominee. This nominee needs to be able to withstand the political pressures that Trump and his lieutenants in all likelihood will try to put on any FBI director.