Just over a week after President Donald Trump’s controversial firing of Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey, Joseph Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 has emerged as the leading candidate to serve as the next FBI chief, according to reports from CNN, Politico and NBC News.
A former chairman of the News, Lieberman ran for vice president alongside former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election, becoming the first Jewish candidate on a major American political party’s presidential ticket. He unsuccessfully sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 before becoming an Independent in 2006.
In an article published in the News in 2003, Lieberman’s classmates recalled the senator’s discipline and self-awareness. Few expressed surprise at their peer’s meteoric rise in Washington, D.C.
After meeting on Wednesday with Lieberman and several other candidates for FBI director, Trump told reporters that he is “very close” to making a final decision and that Lieberman is his top choice. The news comes amidst a maelstrom of controversy, with the Trump administration on its heels trying to defend the president’s alleged request that Comey end FBI’s investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, subsequent dismissal of Comey and disclosure of highly classified intelligence to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister. The White House has denied that Trump asked the former FBI director to conclude the Flynn investigation and has challenged reports that Trump revealed sensitive information to the two Russian diplomats.
Lieberman, a Morse College alumnus, served four consecutive terms as the United States senator representing Connecticut from 1989 to 2013. He was succeeded by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, who has emerged as one of Trump’s most vocal opponents.
During his tenure in the Senate, Lieberman was the chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. His only law enforcement experience came in the six years before his ascent to the Senate, during which he served as as Connecticut Attorney General. Typically, FBI directors have some prior experience as prosecutors or criminal investigators.
Rounding out Trump’s shortlist to replace Comey are Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI agent and Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, counterterrorism advisor to former President George W. Bush Frances Townsend, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals Michael Garcia, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson, former FBI agent and chair of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and FBI veterans Richard Feely and Adam Lee.
FBI directors are traditionally appointed to 10-year terms.