Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) is no longer the front-runner to become the next FBI director, CNN reported Wednesday.
President Trump said last week he was “very close” to choosing a replacement for James Comey, whom he abruptly fired as director, and indicated the former Democratic vice presidential nominee was his top pick.
But the president has decided he wants to see a broader list of candidates, an administration official told CNN.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Lieberman is a partner at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Trump is expected to retain to lead a team of private attorneys to represent him in the federal investigation into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
The official said Lieberman’s ties to the firm did not affect Trump’s decision.
The president has come under pressure from Congress to choose an FBI director with strong bipartisan credentials after he fired Comey, who was leading the bureau’s Russia probe.
The firing rankled Democrats and some Republicans, who worry Trump may have been trying to interfere with the inquiry.
The Connecticut senator served as a Democrat for nearly two decades before becoming an independent.
But many Democratic senators said he was the wrong pick, given that he has no background in federal law enforcement, like previous FBI directors. Lieberman's 2006 party switch also angered many Democrats on Capitol Hill.
Other possible candidates have taken themselves out of contention, including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas), who was thought to be Trump’s top pick before he turned to Lieberman.
Before leaving for his foreign trip last week, Trump interviewed Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R), acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and ex-FBI official Richard McNeely for the job.
McNeely has since taken himself out of the running for the job.