White House prepares list of candidates for FBI head; Democrats oppose Lieberman

UPDATE — 5/24, 5:32 p.m. EDT: A top White House official told the Washington Post recently that former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman is no longer President Trump’s preferred choice to replace James Comey as permanent director of the FBI, citing negative feedback from Democratic lawmakers in Washington.

According to the Post’s source, Trump will meet with more candidates to head the Bureau after his return from overseas.

 

After vowing a swift selection to replace James Comey as head of the FBI, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters President Trump intended on interviewing four candidates to assume the directorship of the Bureau on Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters on Air Force One, Spicer revealed acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman and former senior FBI official Richard McFeely are four candidates Trump would speak to about the position.

Other potential candidates reportedly under consideration by the White House include:  Current New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly; former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers; Associate Judge for the New York State Court of Appeals Mike Garcia; and Larry Thompson, a deputy attorney general in the Bush administration.

Four other candidates, former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, Texas Senator John Cornyn, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Merrick Garland, and South Carolina Congressman Trey Gowdy have all declined further consideration for the position.

Of the four under consideration and scheduled to meet with Trump, Joe Lieberman, who Trump acknowledged was a leading candidate on Thursday, appeared to draw the most criticism from former Democratic colleagues.

A known maverick, Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 2000, infuriated many fellow Democrats by bolting the party to serve the remainder of his tenure in the Senate as an independent and endorsing John McCain’s bid for the White House in 2008.

The 75-year-old former senator once served as Connecticut’s attorney general has earned praise from moderate GOP senators, like Lindsey Graham and Susan Collins, but Democrats remain skeptical.

“Joe Lieberman has no real law enforcement credentials. Look where he works now, a Trump law firm. That tells me a lot,” said Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).

Other Senate Democrats oppose Lieberman on professional grounds:

“We ought to stay away from political figures.  All the voting history, all the party history, whatever it is, I would stay away from it. Stick with the professionals,” said Illinois’ Dick Durbin.

Similarly Connecticut’s Chris Murphy commented that Lieberman is someone who has angered “Democrats and Republicans, which is probably a good experience for being FBI director. But my concern is about someone with a political background. This is a moment for someone with a law enforcement background.”

 

[Reuters] [Fox News] [CNN] [Politico] [Photo courtesy AP/Washington Examiner]