President Donald Trump said last week that he was “very close” to choosing a new FBI director to replace James Comey, who was leading the investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia and was fired earlier this month. The circumstances surrounding the firing have attracted broad attention, with senators calling for an unimpeachable, nonpartisan appointment to the position designed to be a 10-year term.
At one point, former Sen. Joe Lieberman was considered a leading candidate, but Trump has since decided he wants to see a broader range of candidates for the job, the official said.
Lieberman is partners at the same law firm as Marc Kasowitz, whom Trump is expected to hire as part of a team on matters related to the inquiry into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia. The official said Kasowitz’s hiring hasn’t affected the FBI director search.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been interviewing candidates for the job, including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, former congressman and FBI special agent Mike Rogers, and Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush.
Trump has read reports and recommendations from the interviews and met with a few leading candidates himself, a senior White House official has told CNN. There is no set number of finalists that the President has pledged to interview personally.
Several candidates — including former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, Associate Judge Michael Garcia of the New York Court of Appeals, career FBI official Richard McFeely, Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn and South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy — have removed themselves from consideration.