Former FBI official from Severna Park under consideration to replace James Comey as director

A Severna Park man who headed the FBI's field office in Baltimore is under consideration to replace ousted director James B. Comey, a White House spokesman said Wednesday.

Richard A. McFeely, the FBI's special agent-in-charge in Baltimore from 2009 until he took a bureau job in Washington three years later, was set to meet Wednesday with President Donald J. Trump, the White House said.

McFeely, 55, would enter the job amid tumult surrounding ongoing investigations into Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign had any role in that effort.

Trump fired Comey last week and later acknowledged he had "this Russia thing" in mind when he did so.

The nation is still digesting news reports this week that Trump asked Comey to shut down the federal investigation into his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, according to a memo Comey wrote after the meeting. Flynn resigned in February after the White House said he misled officials about his contacts with Russia.

McFeely, a registered Repubilcan, overlapped in Baltimore with the man who would be his boss at the Justice Department, Rod J. Rosenstein. The former U.S. Attorney from Maryland, sworn in as the deputy attorney general late last month, has drawn scrutiny from Democrats on Capitol Hill for his role in Comey's ouster.

McFeely, a graduate of the University of Delaware, gained attention locally in 2011 for leading the investigation into an extortion scheme within the Baltimore Police Department. Seventeen officers were charged with receiving kickbacks in exchange for steering accident victims to a towing company not authorized to do business with the city.

His office also nabbed a Baltimore-area man, Benjamin Martinez, who pleaded guilty in 2012 to the attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with a failed terrorist plot to blow up a Catonsville military recruiting center in December 2010.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Trump would also meet with former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and FBI acting director Andrew McCabe about the job.

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III named McFeely as the executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response Services Branch in 2012. McFeely retired from the bureau two years later.

Rosenstein on Wednesday named Mueller special counsel to oversee the Russia probe.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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