(JTA) — Former Sen. Joe Lieberman withdrew his name from consideration to replace James Comey as FBI director.
In a letter Thursday to President Donald Trump, first obtained by Politico, Lieberman cited Trump’s selection of attorney Marc Kasowitz to represent him in various investigations. Lieberman is employed by the legal firm of which Kasowitz is a name partner.
“I do believe it would be best to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest,” wrote the former Connecticut lawmaker, “given my role as a senior counsel in the law firm of which Marc is the senior partner.”
Lieberman had been considered a leading contender for the FBI position until earlier in the week, when the White House signaled that it was expanding the pool of candidates.
“Just being thought of for this position was a great honor because of my enormous respect for the men and women of the FBI,” wrote Lieberman, “and the critical and courageous work they do in protecting the American people from criminals and terrorists, and upholding our finest values.”
Lieberman was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000, becoming the first Jewish candidate to place on a national party ticket. He campaigned for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, in 2016 after endorsing Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008. Lieberman switched to being an independent in 2006.
After retiring from the Senate in January 2013 following his fourth term, Lieberman joined the law firm of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
Earlier this week, Trump turned to Kasowitz, who formerly represented Trump in bankruptcy and libel cases, to provide counsel in the investigation into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.