Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee, is the front-runner to be named FBI director, according to several White House officials and advisers.
Senior administration officials have told others in the last 12 hours that Trump is expected to pick Lieberman to replace FBI director James Comey, who was abruptly fired by Trump last week.
A person familiar with Wednesday’s meeting said Trump bonded with Lieberman, and the president left leaning towards the former Connecticut senator, who retired in 2013. Trump has not signaled otherwise that anyone else is the favorite, aides said, and has told one adviser he wants to make an announcement before he leaves Friday on his first foreign trip.
Trump told reporters Thursday afternoon “we’re very close to an FBI director” and that the pick would be announced soon. When asked whether Lieberman was among the finalists, he replied yes.
A White House spokesman declined to comment.
The pick would be an unorthodox one – the FBI is not usually run by politicians. Additionally, Lieberman is 75 years old, and FBI directors are typically appointed to serve 10-year terms.
Lieberman ran alongside Democrat Al Gore in 2000. He now works at the same law firm with Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime lawyer in New York, which could be an issue for Democrats, a senior Democratic aide said.
At a lunch with Democratic senators Thursday, Sen. Dick Durbin and others criticized the pick, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
But Lieberman is respected by many Democrats and Republicans alike in the Senate. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.