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 Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report 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 CornynAfter Texas shooting, lawmakers question whether military has systemic reporting problem Overnight Defense: Lawmakers question military's lapse after Texas shooting | Trump asks North Korea to 'make a deal' | Senate panel approves Army pick Overnight Regulation: House passes bill to overturn joint-employer rule | Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid | Lawmakers 'alarmed' by EPA's science board changes 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 Conner McCaskillDemocratic Homeland Security members request additional DHS nominee testimony Senate panel delays vote on Trump’s Homeland Security pick Steve Israel: ‘We had a better time at the DMZ than we’re going to have tonight’ MORE (D-Mo.) said she thought appointing Lieberman would be a "mistake."

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"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.