Washington – Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman has told the White House he no longer wishes to be considered as a replacement for ousted FBI Director James Comey because he wanted to avoid the “appearance of a conflict of interest.”
After saying last week Lieberman was his top choice to head the FBI, President Donald Trump hired Marc Kasowitz of the New York law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres to be his personal lawyer in federal and congressional probes into whether Trump associates were colluding with Russia to meddle with the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Lieberman was hired by Kasowitz Benson Torres after he retired from the Senate in 2013.
“I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for this nomination. With your selection of Marc Kasowitz to represent you in the various investigations that have begun, I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as a senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner,” Lieberman wrote in a letter dated Wednesday.
He thanked Trump for inviting him to discuss “the possibility of being nominated” as FBI director.
On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Lieberman were known as the “three amigos” in the Senate, accused Democrats of torpedoing Lieberman’s chances for the FBI job. Senate Democrats said they preferred a candidate without political ties and with a criminal justice background.
“My Democratic colleagues clearly did (kill Lieberman’s chances),” McCain told reporters Wednesday.
“This is their nominee for vice president of the United States. If anything would make you cynical about this town, that’s it.”
Lieberman was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2000. But he became an independent in 2006 after losing his Democratic Senate primary, and endorsed McCain for president in 2008 — angering many Democrats.