Washington – President Donald Trump’s decision to hire attorney Marc Kasowitz to serve as his private lawyer during federal and congressional Russia probes has dimmed former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman’s chances of becoming the next FBI chief.
Kasowitz, a New York attorney who has represented Trump in legal matters before, is the senior partner in the Kasowitz Benson Torres law firm that hired Lieberman after he retired from the Senate in 2013. Fox Business and ABC were the first to report Kasowitz’s hiring on Tuesday afternoon.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Senate Democrats, who are opposed to having Lieberman replace ousted FBI director James Comey, had already grumbled about the connection between Lieberman, Kasowitz and Trump.
Kasowitz’s representation of Trump during the Russia probe would be likely to pose a conflict of interest if Lieberman were head of the FBI.
Trump last week said Lieberman was a front-runner for the FBI job. But that was before Senate Democrats made clear they would oppose the nomination, which has also been rejected by American civil liberties groups.
Trump’s comments about Lieberman also were made before his decision to hire an outside counsel.
News that Kasowitz was chosen to represent the president during investigations into links between Moscow and Trump associates by special counsel Robert Mueller and four congressional committees came after former CIA Director John Brennan testified about those links Tuesday.
Brennan said he became concerned last year that the Russian government was trying to influence members of the Trump campaign to act, perhaps unwittingly, on Moscow’s behalf.
“I encountered and am aware of information and intelligence that revealed contacts and interactions between Russian officials and U.S. persons involved in the Trump campaign that I was concerned about because of known Russian efforts to suborn such individuals,” Brennan told members of the House Intelligence Committee.