Former Sen. Joe Lieberman is one of President Donald Trump’s top picks to be nominated as FBI director, Trump said Thursday.
Speaking to reporters while meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Trump said he is “very close” to choosing a new FBI director to replace James Comey. And asked if Lieberman, the Democrat-turned-independent senator from Connecticut was a top candidate, Trump said yes.
Trump met with Lieberman Wednesday and found him “agreeable,” a source said.
Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have been interviewing candidates to lead the bureau since Trump suddenly fired former Comey last week only a few years into what was created to be up to a 10-year term.
The circumstances surrounding the firing have made the appointment closely watched, with senators calling for an unimpeachable, nonpartisan appointment.
The firing drew instant criticism from both sides of the aisle, as Comey was overseeing the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US election and any possible links between the Trump camp and Russia during the campaign.
While Trump’s team initially claimed that the firing came after a review by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, laid out in a memo, that largely faulted Comey on his handling of the investigation into the private email server of Hillary Clinton, Trump later said in an interview he had already decided to fire Comey and cited the Russia investigation as being at the top of mind.
After the firing, Rosenstein announced he would appoint a special counsel to oversee the investigation — his decision because Sessions recused himself from it. Rosenstein only informed the White House of his decision to bring on former FBI Director Robert Mueller after the order was signed and less than an hour before it was announced publicly.
The naming of the special counsel has appeased some Democrats, who were threatening to try to block any FBI director until such a move was made. But the appointment does not assuage all concerns, and an FBI director would still play a major role as things moved forward.
Already one red-state Democrat, who would be a top target for Republicans to support a candidate, stated she would not be pleased with Lieberman as a pick.
“It’s a mistake to nominate anyone who’s ever run for office,” Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters. “I’m somebody who spent a lot of time in law enforcement; this is a moment where we need a law enforcement professional that’s never campaigned for a presidential candidate, never campaigned for office, never worn a party label to head the FBI.”
Lieberman’s long history in politics