Joe Lieberman: 5 things to know about Trump’s possible pick for FBI director

Joe Lieberman leaves the White House after meeting with President Trump on May 18, 2017
Joe Lieberman leaves the White House after meeting with President Trump on Wednesday. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

President Trump is expected to announce his pick to replace fired FBI Director James Comey as early as this week. According to multiple reports, former Sen. Joseph Lieberman has emerged as the leading candidate for the position.

Here are five quick things to know about the 75-year-old former senator from Connecticut.

1. He served three terms in the U.S. Senate

Lieberman, a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988 as a “reform Democrat” after serving as the majority leader of the Connecticut state senate and, later, that state attorney general. Lieberman was subsequently reelected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, 2000 and 2006. In the 2006 Senate race, Lieberman lost the Democratic primary but won reelection as a third-party candidate. He retired from the Senate in 2013.

2. He was Al Gore’s running mate

Lieberman was selected by Al Gore to be the 2000 vice presidential nominee, becoming the first Jewish candidate on a major American political party presidential ticket. Gore and Lieberman won the popular vote in the 2000 election but ultimately lost the Electoral College vote to George W. Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney.

3. He ran for president in 2004

Lieberman’s bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination fell well short, with the former senator and one-time vice presidential nominee bowing out of the race early. Lieberman subsequently endorsed the eventually nominee, John Kerry.

4. He endorsed Hillary Clinton over Trump

Following his 2004 failed presidential bid, Lieberman moved to the right, endorsing his former Republican colleague, Sen. John McCain, at the 2008 Republican National Convention. (Lieberman was even mentioned as a possible running mate for McCain.) As a result, his relationship with Democratic party leaders was strained. But in 2016, Lieberman pivoted back, endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for president over Trump.

5. He could have a conflict of interest

After leaving the Senate, Lieberman took a job as senior counsel at Kasowitz Benson Torres Friedman — a New York City-based law firm that has represented Trump in numerous lawsuits.

“I would be surprised if there’s no conflict of interest here,” David Rosen, an attorney and Yale Law School lecturer, told the New Haven Independent this week. “Trump’s doings are on the FBI’s plate right now. To have one of his lawyers heading the FBI creates problems that it’s hard to see how to untangle.”

Lieberman met with Trump at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the FBI director post. Trump said he may announce his choice before he leaves Friday for an eight-day trip abroad, his first foreign trip as president.

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