Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman (D), considered as of last week to be the frontrunner for James Comey's replacement for FBI Director, withdrew his name from the running Thursday. Lieberman works at the same law firm as one of President Trump's private attorneys in the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. As such, he told the Wall Street Journal that he wishes to avoid any conflicts of interest.
“I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, given my role as senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner,” Mr. Lieberman wrote in the letter dated Wednesday, a copy of which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. He thanked Mr. Trump for inviting him to discuss “the possibility of being nominated” as FBI director.
Before Lieberman pulled out of the race, several politicians implored Trump to find someone without a political background to lead the FBI.
Trump fired Comey earlier this month, with the White House reasoning that he had "lost the confidence" of the agency. Critics, however, accused Trump of letting Comey go because he was concerned the Russia investigation was getting too close for comfort, with allegations still swirling that his transition team had colluded with Russian officials. That claim, however, is still sans evidence.
As of last week, Trump said Lieberman was his top choice to take over as FBI director. The remaining crop of candidates reportedly includes FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe, former FBI official Richard McFeely and former Oklahoma Republican Gov. Frank Keating and former U.S. Attorney Ken Wainstein for the role.