WASHINGTON (CN) – President Donald Trump said Thursday that former Sen. Joe Lieberman is now the leading candidate to be the next FBI director.
Trump tipped Lieberman’s status during a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos. While answering questions from pool reporters, the president said he was “very close” to choosing a new FBI director.
When asked if Lieberman was his top pick, the president said “yes.”
Trump met with the 75-year-old Lieberman on Wednesday, six days after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.
The controversy that has grown out of Comey’s dismissal inspired several senators to call for nonpartisan appointment.
At the time of his removal, Comey was overseeing the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S .election and possible collusion between the Trump camp and Russia during the campaign.
The White House initially claimed Comey’s firing was tied to Comey’s “mishandling” of the investigation of Hillary Clinton use of a private email server and her handling of classified information during her tenure as secretary of state.
Trump later said in an interview he decided to fire Comey because the former FBI director was a “show boat” and a “grandstander.”
Lieberman, a graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, began his political life as Democrat, and served both in the Connecticut state senate and as the state’s attorney general before turning his attention to higher political office.
He was first elected to the Senate in 1988. He was the party’s vice presidential nominee in 2000. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination four years later.
But Lieberman lost his senate seat to a primary challenger in 2006, and he ran as an independent to retain his seat.
He then further angered Democrats by endorsing Republican Sen. John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008 over Barack Obama. And he even went so far as to give a keynote address at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota that year.
Lieberman retired from the Senate in 2011, and since then has been a senior counsel at the New York law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.