(CNN) — Sen. John Cornyn, the second ranking Republican in the Senate, has asked to be removed from consideration to be the next FBI director, the Texan said in a statement.
“Now more than ever the country needs a well-credentialed, independent FBI Director,” Cornyn said. “I’ve informed the Administration that I’m committed to helping them find such an individual, and that the best way I can serve is continuing to fight for a conservative agenda in the US Senate.”
Cornyn’s decision comes after his own Senate colleagues suggested he might not be right for the job, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recommending former Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland over Cornyn for the job.
Cornyn and at least seven other candidates interviewed with Justice Department officials about the position this weekend.
Cornyn is the second GOP lawmaker to remove himself from consideration, just days after he interviewed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican who oversaw the House Benghazi Committee also withdrew his name from consideration.
“He felt obligated to consider this because his close friend Sessions asked him to and out of a desire to restore stability to the FBI and DOJ,” said a source familiar with Cornyn’s decision to interview.
But almost as soon as he finished interviewing, other Senate Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Susan Collins were suggesting a politician is probably the wrong pick to lead the FBI amid the tumult after Comey’s firing.