President Trump said Thursday he is “very close” to picking a new FBI director, indicating that former Sen. Joe Lieberman (Conn.) is his top pick.
"I'm very close to choosing an FBI director," Trump told television news anchors during a private lunch at the White House, according to CNN’s Jake Tapper.
The president later confirmed that Lieberman has emerged as his pick to replace Comey, telling reporters in the Oval Office, “he is.”
Trump has stressed his desire to quickly name a replacement for James Comey, whom he abruptly fired as the agency’s head last week.
The move sparked a massive controversy in Washington, since Comey was leading a federal probe into Russian election interference and the Trump campaign’s possible ties to Moscow. That probe is now in the hands of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was named as special counsel Wednesday.
Some allies of the president have said he could announce his pick before leaving Friday for a nine-day foreign trip — his first overseas tour as president.
Trump met with four candidates for the top law enforcement post Wednesday afternoon and reportedly bonded with the former Democrat-turned-Independent senator.
Lieberman would be an unusual pick for the job — past FBI chiefs have either worked at the bureau or served as a federal judge or prosecutor. He was attorney general of Connecticut before being elected to the Senate in 1988.
The former Democratic vice presidential nominee currently works at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres in New York – the same firm as Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz.
The three other men Trump interviewed for the post were former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), former FBI official Richard McFeely and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynAll hostages free, safe after hours-long standoff at Texas synagogue: governor McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster MORE (R-Texas), who was said to be Trump’s top pick for the job, took himself out of the running this week.