STATEMENT: Sen. Joe Lieberman Lacks Law Enforcement Expertise and Political Independence to Be Next FBI Director, Says CAP’s Neera Tanden

Washington, D.C. — The Trump administration is reportedly interviewing nominees to fill the vacancy for FBI director, created after President Donald Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey last week allegedly because of his ongoing investigation into collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. One of the reported candidates is former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was twice elected to the Senate as a Democrat and once elected as an independent and who recently testified on behalf of Attorney General Jeff Sessions at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Center for American Progress President and CEO Neera Tanden issued the following statement:

The new FBI director must be exceptionally qualified and understand the uniquely independent role of the FBI within the executive branch. Sen. Lieberman and other politicians do not possess the necessary expertise or the crucial independence from political influence to do so. With ongoing questions surrounding the removal of FBI Director Comey, fairness, impartiality, and independence from the executive must be paramount as the selection is made. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have called for an appointee who is not a former politician.

Unlike Comey and other past FBI directors, Lieberman has no federal law enforcement experience. He has an ongoing and close relationship with Attorney General Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russia-Trump investigation, and glowingly endorsed Sessions’ confirmation in January. Lieberman also works for a law firm that has represented Trump for years.

The choice to head the FBI will face serious scrutiny. Trump can take an essential step toward ensuring public confidence in the independence of our American system of justice. If the administration wishes to reassure the public that it is not obstructing the investigation into Russia, it must not choose a political actor to lead the FBI.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at tcaiazza@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7141.