Washington – President Donald Trump interviewed former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman Wednesday as a candidate to replace fired FBI Director James Comey, a White House official said.
Trump also interviewed three other potential candidates to lead the FBI, including former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, FBI acting director Andrew McCabe and Richard McFeely, a former top FBI official.
Trump has suggested he’d like to name Comey’s successor before he leaves Friday for his first overseas trip as president.
Several possible candidates, including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, have said they are not interested in the job. So has federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland, whom GOP leaders floated as a possible candidate, despite having blocked his confirmation to the Supreme Court.
Lieberman served as Connecticut’s U.S. senator for 24 years, retiring in 2013. His seat was won by Sen. Chris Murphy.
Lieberman was a longtime chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FBI, and ran unsuccessfully for vice president on the Democratic ticket headed by former Sen. Al Gore.
Lieberman became an independent after Connecticut voters defeated him in a Democratic primary, largely a result of his support of the Iraq war. He supported Sen. John McCain for president in 2008, but endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, a move that could count against him with Trump, who screens candidates for his administration for loyalty.
Lieberman has helped the Trump administration, though.
He introduced Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, at her confirmation hearing in January before a Senate panel, lavishing praise on the controversial nominee.
“She is disciplined, organized, knows how to set goals and then develop practical plans to achieve them. She is really a purpose-driven team builder,” he said.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate, Lieberman served as Connecticut’s attorney general for six years. He also served 10 years in the Connecticut State Senate, including three terms as majority leader.
Lieberman, now a lawyer for the New York-based law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Trump is under fire for his firing of Comey, who was leading an investigation of possible Russian ties to the president’s campaign. The controversy heated up this week with a revelation that Comey may have written a memo which says Trump asked the FBI director during an Oval Office meeting to drop an investigation of former National Security Agency head Michael Flynn.
A growing number of congressional Democrats and Republicans have demanded to see the memo, which has been described to reporters but not made public.