The latest name linked to the Trump administration’s search for a new FBI director is Kenneth Wainstein, a former federal prosecutor whose report on the academic scandal at UNC-Chapel Hill confirmed the existence of no-show classes and their use in keeping athletes eligible for sports.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that top Justice Department officials have interviewed Wainstein as one of several candidates to replace the fired James Comey.
Wainstein was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under President George W. Bush and was Bush’s Homeland Security adviser. Wainstein is a partner in the Cadwalader law firm and works out of its Washington, D.C., office. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley.
The newspaper called Wainstein a “widely respected defense lawyer” but said a letter he signed with fellow Republicans last August could present an obstacle to his nomination. The letter said Donald Trump lacked the “character, values and experience to be president.”
UNC contracted with a team of lawyers led by Wainstein to do an eight-month investigation. Their 131-page report released in 2014 showed counselors sending student-athletes to the bogus classes, which required only a paper and no classroom attendance and resulted in high grades. The findings are part of the NCAA’s case as the organization considers sanctions against UNC.
Trump fired Comey as the FBI director was leading an investigation of Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, including whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russian officials.