President Donald Trump is no longer considering former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman to be the next FBI director, according to multiple media reports.
CNN said Wednesday morning the White House was “resetting its search” to replace James Comey, who was fired by Trump earlier this month in the midst of an investigation into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives who sought to meddle in the presidential election.
Lieberman, a longtime Democrat with no law enforcement experience was seen as an unconventional choice by some, but nonetheless he was called to the White House for a meeting with Trump last week. Trump later confirmed to reporters that Lieberman was his top choice for the post.
But questions soon arose about Lieberman’s work for Kasowitz Benson Torres, a New York law firm that has represented Trump and hired Lieberman after he left the Senate in 2013. And Trump’s selection of Marc Kasowitz, one of the firm’s partners, as outside counsel to represent him in the Russia investigation, seemed to further doom Lieberman’s chances.
The post would have been a return to prominence for Lieberman, who was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000 and served four terms in the Senate. In 2006, Lieberman narrowly lost in a Democratic primary to Ned Lamont but was elected as an independent.
Lieberman being floated for FBI director drew more Democratic push back than some Republicans expected. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “Lieberman is probably the only person who can get 100 votes in the Senate.”
But even Connecticut’s two senators were cool to the idea of Lieberman leading the FBI. Sen. Richard Blumenthal declined to tell reporters whether or not he would support vote for Lieberman if his nomination reached the Senate.
“The next FBI director must be above politics — a qualification that is more important than ever in light of the polarization that we see in Washington,” he said.
Sen. Chris Murphy, who holds Lieberman’s seat, said he is “no pushover” and has “been a pain in the butt to both Republicans and Democrats.”
“I think the question is whether you want someone with a political pedigree or whether you want someone with a law enforcement pedigree,” he said. “And I think there’s a lot of people on both sides of the aisle that are looking for someone who doesn’t come from the political realm.”
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