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U.S. President Donald Trump gestures upon arrival in Lynchburg, Virginia, U.S., May 13, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he wants to move quickly to nominate a new FBI director to replace James Comey, who he fired this week.

Trump told reporters travelling with him on Air Force One that he may be able to make his decision on the Federal Bureau of Investigation head before he leaves in his first foreign trip later next week.

"Even that is possible," Trump said.

Critics have assailed Trump for abruptly dismissing Comey just as the agency is investigating alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, and possible Moscow ties to the Trump presidential campaign.. Russia denies the claims.

Trump said the candidates were "outstanding people" and "very well known."

Trump is considering 11 people to replace Comey, a White House official said. Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Republican Senator John Cornyn, New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher will be interviewed on Saturday for the post, an administration official said.

The decision is subject to confirmation by the U.S. Senate, where Republicans have a majority.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Alistair Bell)

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