Washington – Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Wednesday he is “disappointed” by reports former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is no longer under consideration to head the FBI.
McCain, who was one of Lieberman’s closest friends in the Senate, said reports President Donald Trump is expanding his search for a nominee were a result of Democratic pushback against Lieberman.
If there is anything that would make a person “cynical” about Washington D.C., McCain said, it would be the Democrats’ opposition to one of their former vice presidential nominees. Lieberman, 75, was on the ticket when former Vice President Al Gore ran for president in 2000.
But Lieberman, a Democrat turned independent, also endorsed McCain for president.
McCain suggested Trump name former Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., or Bush administration Homeland Security adviser Fran Townsend to head the FBI.
Last week, Trump said Lieberman was his top choice to replace ousted FBI director James Comey. But a barrage of Senate Democrats, including Connecticut’s senators, said they preferred someone who was not political and who had law enforcement experience.
The White House said it was looking for someone with bipartisan appeal. That would avoid a contentious nomination fight in the wake of Comey’s controversial firing.
A continuing Lieberman’s candidacy also would leave the administration vulnerable to charges the appointment would create a conflict of interest because of Trump’s recent decision to hire Marc Kasowitz as his personal lawyer to represent him in the FBI and congressional probes into whether there was collusion between the president’s associates and Russia.
Kasowitz is the senior partner of the New York law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres that hired Lieberman after he left the Senate in 2013.
Kasowitz partner David Friedman was picked by Trump to become U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Kasowitz also represents Sberbank of Russia, the nation’s largest bank, which is currently facing charges in U.S. federal court for allegedly conspiring with granite company executives to raid a competitor’s assets.