With Joe Lieberman emerging as a potential candidate for the FBI Director post only over the past 48 hours, Trump delivered another surprise today when he told reporters that he is "very close" to making his choice, with multiple officials telling NBC News and CNN that the former Democratic senator is now the current "frontrunner" for the job. The president later confirmed that Lieberman has emerged as his pick to replace Comey, telling reporters in the Oval Office, “he is.”
Trump also told reporters he could pick a new FBI director as early as tomorrow.
Previously Trump promised that the process to replace former FBI director would go "very quickly," with the White House hoping to announce the decision before the president departed for his first trip abroad on Friday, with Saudi Arabia as Trump's first offshore destination.
According to NBC, on Wednesday, Trump met with Lieberman, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, and former top FBI official Richard McFeely.
According to The Hill, Lieberman would be an unusual pick for the job — past FBI chiefs have either worked at the bureau or served as a federal judge or prosecutor. He was attorney general of Connecticut before being elected to the Senate in 1988.
The former Democratic vice presidential nominee currently works at the law firm Kasowitz Benson Torres in New York – the same firm as Trump's attorney Marc Kasowitz.
Lieberman, a former career democrat who endorsed Hillary for president in 2016, declined to respond when asked by MSNBC if he would accept the job should it be offered.
Why would Trump cross the aisle for this key post? NBC notes that Trump picking Lieberman to be FBI director could get votes from senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who are close to the former Democratic politician. Lieberman backed McCain over Obama in 2008.
On "Meet the Press" this past Sunday, Graham said it was important for the FBI pick to come from "within" the FBI ranks or who has "no political background."
It was a sentiment echoed by Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, who holds Lieberman's old Senate seat, who said on "Morning Joe" that he respects Lieberman but many people want someone for FBI Director who doesn't come from a political background.
"I hold Senator Lieberman's seat, he's no pushover, as both parties know. He's been a pain in the butt to both Republicans and Democrats during his time both in and out of the Senate," Murphy said. "I think the question is whether you want someone with a political pedigree or whether you want someone with a law enforcement pedigree. And I think there's a lot of people on both sides of the aisle that are looking for someone who doesn't come from the political realm."
Will Trump's core supporters approve the president's decision should he pick Lieberman? Probably not, but at this point Trump has flopped on so many issues, most may not even notice.
It seems the market is buying it too.