Joe Lieberman is reportedly Donald Trump’s top contender to be the next director of the FBI.
This would be a surprising choice, in part because Lieberman is a partisan politician who for many years served as a Democrat, although he later became an independent. Lieberman also has no prior experience with the FBI.
However, outside of his position as senator from Connecticut, he does have a bit of experience in law and in investigations. Here’s what you need to know about the law background of Joe Lieberman.
1. He Went to Yale Law School
Joe Lieberman has a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Lieberman attended Yale Law School after graduating from Yale University with a B.A. in political science and economics. He was also the editor of the Yale Daily News while he was in college.
After graduating from Yale Law School, Joe Lieberman began a career as a lawyer, being hired to work at Wiggin & Dana.
A BuzzFeed News profile of Lieberman found that his political ideology remained fairly consistent over the years, going back to his days at Yale Law School, with the BuzzFeed reporter objecting to the notion that Lieberman changed and betrayed those on the left in the process.
“…I spent six months in the restricted archives at Sterling Memorial Library on Yale’s campus as part of my research for my senior thesis on the retiring senator, reading dozens of Lieberman’s editorials in the Yale Daily News and volumes of private letters,” BuzzFeed reports. “What I found there was a surprising clarity in the clear line between Lieberman’s stellar early career and his ultimate fall from Democratic Party graces. What I found also contradicts the Democratic conventional wisdom, that Lieberman transformed himself after he and Al Gore lost the 2000 election. Indeed, from his days on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Lieberman has been remarkably consistent to the socially liberal, foreign policy hawkish ideology he demonstrated as a student.”
2. He Served as the Attorney General of Connecticut
From 1983 through 1989, Joe Lieberman served as the attorney general of Connecticut.
This was not the first political experience Lieberman acquired, though. In 1970, he was elected as a Democrat to serve in the Connecticut state Senate, and he spent 10 years there. For six of those years, he was the senate’s majority leader.
Lieberman in 1980 lost his state Senate re-election bid, and so in 1982 he ran for attorney general of Connecticut and won. In 1986, Lieberman won re-election, and in fact he won more votes than any other Democrat on the Connecticut ticket, according to Salon.
3. He Lead a Number of Congressional Investigations
While in Congress, Lieberman was the chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. In this position, he ended up leading a number of Congressional investigations.
This included the hearing on the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.
“In my opinion, our investigation has shown a gross lack of planning and preparation by both the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, and that guaranteed that the response to Hurricane Katrina — or for that matter, any other catastrophe that might have happened — was doomed to be uncoordinated, inadequate and, therefore, more damaging than it should have been,” Lieberman said in 2006, according to The New York Times.
He also investigated the events leading up to the Benghazi terrorist attack, ultimately saying that there was an irresponsible lack of security at the consulate in Libya.
“In my opinion, it was irresponsible to have our State Department personnel there with only three security guards,” Lieberman said on Fox News.” “They were easily overrun in the attack of Sept. 11. Either we could have given them the security they deserved, or we should have closed that mission in Benghazi, as the British had done a short while before.”
4. After Resigning From Congress, He Joined the Law Firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman
Joe Lieberman resigned from Congress in 2013, after which he went back into law.
Lieberman joined the law firm Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in June 2013. Bloomberg reported at the time that Lieberman would be focusing on “independent and internal investigations” and on advising clients on “public policy, strategic and regulatory issues.”
Lieberman told Bloomberg that he picked this law firm because a friend, lawyer Norman Brownstein, recommended it to him.
“It seemed like a fit with my own independent nature, as evidenced by my political career,” Lieberman said. “They are not exclusively a plaintiffs’ firm or a defense firms. They do white collar defense work but have had the guts to sue the big banks over the behavior during the credit crisis and the downturn.”
5. One of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman’s Clients is Donald Trump
Joe Lieberman earlier this year spoke in support of Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of education. Some criticized Lieberman at the time for not disclosing his law firm’s relationship with Donald Trump.
After all, one of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman’s clients is Donald Trump, whom they have represented since 2001. Marc Kasowitz, one of the partners at the law firm, is one of Donald Trump’s go-to lawyers, and he’s the one who last October threatened legal action against The New York Times for their report on women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault.
Also, David Friedman, another lawyer at the firm, has represented Trump in bankruptcy cases, according to Newsweek.