Latham partner withdraws from FBI director race after early-stage interviews

Latham & Watkins partner Alice Fisher has withdrawn from the pool of contenders to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

Fisher, a former head of the criminal division at the US Department of Justice during George W Bush’s administration, is a prominent white-collar lawyer and partner in Latham’s Washington DC office. She is also a member of the US firm’s executive committee

She interviewed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for the top FBI job on Saturday (13 May), less than a week after President Donald Trump fired director James Comey.

A source close to Fisher provided this statement: “Alice is honoured and humbled to have been considered. While she had productive discussions with those working on the nomination, she determined she would not proceed.

“She has tremendous respect for the Justice Department and deeply values the hard work the men and women at the bureau and throughout the department do every day to protect the American public. She will do all she can to help support the president’s nominee as they take on this incredibly important national security and public safety role.”

Michael Garcia, an appellate judge in New York state, also was among the first group of four candidates to be interviewed.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer gave a new list of candidates who will meet with Trump. They are: acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former US Senator Joe Lieberman and former FBI assistant director Richard McFeely.

Among them, both Keating and Lieberman work for corporate clients at large law firms.

Keating joined Holland & Knight as a partner last year, with an intention to split his time between Washington and Oklahoma. He previously led the American Bankers Association.

Lieberman, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee in 2000, is now a $1,250-an-hour senior counsel at Kasowitz Benson Torres in New York. That firm’s founder, Marc Kasowitz, is a longstanding personal lawyer to Trump.

McFeely now works for accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young, according to his LinkedIn page.