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Front-runner for FBI Director has bipartisan history in the Senate

Kevin King

Kevin King

May 20, 2017

Earlier this week, President Trump confirmed that Joe Lieberman, the former US Senator from Connecticut, is at the top of his shortlist to be the new FBI Director. Lieberman, who served 24 years in the Senate (the first 18 as a Democrat and the last 6 as an Independent), was Al Gore’s Vice Presidential nominee in 2000 and later a campaign surrogate for Senator McCain in 2008. If appointed, Lieberman would become the first former politician in the Bureau’s 108-year history to serve as FBI Director.

Lieberman holds bipartisan history with top Republicans and Democrats still in the Senate

During his four terms in the Senate, Lieberman introduced 368 bills, passed 48 out of committee, 16 out of the chamber with 14 becoming law. Of senators still in office, he worked frequently with Republicans like Sen. Collins (ME), Sen. McCain (AZ), and Sen. Hatch (UT) and with Democrats like Sen. Feinstein (CA), Minority Whip Durbin (IL), and Minority Leader Schumer (NY). He championed efforts to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, was a key vote in the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and pushed for the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

Lieberman condemned President Putin twice on the Senate floor

On November 21st, 2003, while speaking on Russia’s role in the G-8, Lieberman stated President Putin’s “list of offending actions is long and disturbing” citing his attempts to control Russian media, NGOs, and religious organizations. Lieberman called for the US to use Russia’s membership in the G-8 as leverage to get Russia “back on the democratic track.” Almost a decade later, on December 5th, 2012,  Lieberman condemned President Putin for “compromising human rights” and for the “thuggish brutality” of protesters in the wake of a fraudulent parliamentary election.


How have Democrats reacted to Lieberman's potential appointment?

Sen. Coons (D-DE) - “a significant improvement over a number of other nominees

Rep. Thompson (D-CA-5) - “I'd oppose Lieberman for FBI Director. He's senior counsel to the law firm representing @POTUS & the Bureau shouldn't be led by a politician.

Sen. Schatz (D-HI) - “Lieberman for FBI a nonstarter. No reason to appoint a politician of either party. We need a career law enforcement pro."

Sen. Sanders (I-VT) - “The next FBI director cannot be perceived as a political appointee. Unfortunately, Joe Lieberman does not fit that description.

How have Republicans reacted to Lieberman's potential appointment?

Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) - “Joe Lieberman is probably the only person that could get 100 votes in the Senate."

Sen. McCain (R-AZ) - “Joe Lieberman has more experience than all of my Democrat colleagues combined — so screw them."

Sen. Toomey (R-PA) - "Lieberman would be a great choice to lead the FBI."

Sen. Rubio (R-FL) - ”great admiration for Joe Lieberman and think he’d do a fine job.” 

"Very Close"

Lieberman is one of a handful of finalists being considered for FBI Director including former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, Judge Michael Garcia of NY State Court of Appeals, and Judge Henry Hudson of Federal District Court of Eastern District of Virginia. Prior to leaving for his 9-day trip to the Middle East, President Trump said he was "very close" to his final decision. 

See how members of Congress reacted to Comey firing

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