WASHINGTON—Saying it was essential to fill the now vacant post with just the right person, President Trump announced Wednesday the start of a 40-month search to find a replacement for recently dismissed FBI director James Comey. “Whomever we appoint to run the agency must be someone of impeccable character and reputation, and finding this individual will inevitably take at least three and a half years,” said Trump, adding that it would be irresponsible to advance any open investigations until they could be overseen by a new FBI director at some point in the year 2020, though possibly at an even later date. “In fact, we must spend however many weeks, months, and years are required to find an appropriate candidate. Quantifying the time frame underestimates the difficult task at hand and the lengthy—one might even say indefinite—process to come.” Trump went on to say that given the difficulty of selecting the right successor, it was quite possible that the search would remain unfinished in his lifetime.