I definitely was not thinking he was in the running.
President Donald Trump indicated Thursday that onetime Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman is the favorite to become the next head of the FBI, after the shock dismissal of James Comey.
Asked whether the 75-year-old was a frontrunner, Trump responded “yes” — confirming Lieberman’s surprise candidacy.
Lieberman, a former independent senator from Connecticut, ran on a ticket with Democrat Al Gore in 2000, but they were defeated by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
In 2008, Lieberman endorsed Republican John McCain.
The choice of a new FBI director will be closely scrutinized with the administration thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against Trump, most damagingly that he may have obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop a probe into one of his top advisors.
Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman is reportedly President Donald Trump’s leading choice for FBI director, according to news reports Thursday.
Quoting “a senior administration official and two other sources,” CNN reported Lieberman selection was “highly likely” and “this is close to being a done deal.”
Trump told television anchors at a lunch Thursday he was close to making a selection.
“I’m very close to choosing an FBI director,” he said.
Trump was not more specific.
Lieberman, 75, a Democrat who became an independent in 2006, met with the president Wednesday.
He apparently “bonded” with Trump, Politico reported, citing “a person familiar” with the meeting. The White House declined to comment.
Lieberman was Vice President Al Gore’s running mate in 2000.
Trump interviewed as many as eight candidates since he fired James Comey last week.
Other candidates included acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, and former senior FBI official Richard McFeely.
Arizona Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called on Trump on Thursday to name Lieberman to the post.
“I hope I don’t nix his chances here, but I hope that the president would select Joe,” McCain told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Lieberman was first elected to the Senate in 1988.