Lieberman Shouldn’t Be FBI Director

The American Conservative

Senate Democrats don’t like Lieberman for FBI Director:

President Donald Trump may be dramatically miscalculating how much support Sen. Joe Lieberman has among his former Democratic colleagues to become FBI director.

Some Senate Democrats hold a grudge against Lieberman for his rightward turn and opposition to some of President Barack Obama’s agenda late in his Senate career. Others say even though they respect Lieberman, the FBI director should not be a former politician. And all Democratic senators interviewed for this story said the former Connecticut senator lacks the kind of experience needed for the post.

Maybe Trump and his advisers thought that Lieberman would be more agreeable to members of the other party because he used to be a Democrat, but they evidently didn’t remember that Lieberman’s break with his party was a particularly bitter and contentious one. Lieberman abandoned his party after he lost his 2006 primary to Ned Lamont, and he lost that election mainly because of his zealous support for the Iraq war and his perceived closeness to Bush in connection with that. Lieberman still won the general election as an independent, but from then on he was one of the least-liked politicians among Democratic voters. He even backed McCain in the 2008 election, and basically did as much as he could to burn bridges with his former party during Obama’s first term.

Even if there weren’t all this bad blood between him and Democrats, he is a bad choice for the job for the reasons I laid out earlier. Quin Hillyer sums up many of these reasons in a post this evening:

First, at exactly a moment when the political atmosphere is toxic and when the prior director was widely criticized for appearing to tip the political scales in the midst of a national election, this is precisely not the time to hire for the very first time an FBI director whose background is largely elective/political. For all of Lieberman’s vaunted bipartisanship, he still built a career as a politician and has a habit of thinking like one. This is not good.

Second, the nature of the job itself is not that of a mere CEO type in the way that some of the lesser cabinet posts are. This is a job for a person not just broadly familiar with, but extremely well versed in, the tools of law-enforcement investigations, the technical interplay of various federal agencies, and the granular details of patient inquiry. Lieberman, despite his long government résumé, has not a single day of federal law-enforcement experience. If he were named director, he would be the first person ever to hold that post without prior Justice Department experience.

Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare listed reasons why Lieberman was a bad choice in a series of tweets earlier today. Here are a couple:

If Trump goes ahead with a Lieberman nomination, he will be choosing someone widely regarded as unqualified for the job, and Lieberman will encounter significant resistance during the confirmation process.


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