GOP senators praise Lieberman for FBI director

A pair of top Republican senators on Thursday heaped praise on former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), President Trump's top choice to become FBI director. 

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainMcCain: Putin a greater threat than ISIS Trump’s defense spending boom that wasn’t Defense hawks gird for budget brawl MORE (R-Ariz.), the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called Lieberman "outstanding."

"I hope he gets chosen. He has great respect and affection from both sides of the aisle,” McCain said after leaving a closed-door meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

McCain also reportedly said “screw them” when discussing Democratic lawmakers who oppose or plan to oppose Lieberman.

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenators locked in turf battle over Russia probes GOP leader tempers ObamaCare expectations Juan Williams: Trump's budget hurts his voters MORE (Texas), the No. 2 Senate Republican, reportedly called Lieberman "universally well-respected" and "probably the only person who can get 100 votes in the Senate."

Cornyn was on the president’s short list to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey, but took himself out of consideration earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillSanders, Democrats introduce minimum wage bill Mnuchin: WH won't double-count economic growth Technology's role in human trafficking cannot be ignored MORE (D-Mo.) said she thought appointing Lieberman would be a "mistake."

ADVERTISEMENT
"It's a mistake to nominate anyone who's ever run for office," she told reporters.

Trump abruptly fired Comey last week, with lawmakers from both parties questioning the timing of the dismissal.

Comey was leading the FBI's investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia before he was dismissed. 

On Wednesday, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Mark Mueller as a special counsel to investigate Russian interference into the presidential election.

Rosenstein’s decision came after lawmakers called for an independent counsel to oversee the investigation following Comey's dismissal.

Trump told reporters Thursday he is “very close” to naming a new FBI director, indicating that Lieberman is his top choice.

The former Democratic-turned-Independent senator previously served as attorney general of Connecticut before entering Congress.

"I'm very close to choosing an FBI director," Trump reportedly told television news anchors at a private White House lunch Thursday morning.

Lieberman currently works at the New York-based law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, where Trump attorney Marc Kasowitz also works.