Pence Rebuts Mueller Claim He Didn’t Meet With Trump as FBI Director Candidate Day Before Appointment

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
July 24, 2019Politicsshare
Pence Rebuts Mueller Claim He Didn’t Meet With Trump as FBI Director Candidate Day Before Appointment
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting at National Harbor near Washington, on March 1, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Vice President Mike Pence said that he was in the Oval Office when Robert Mueller met with President Donald Trump as a candidate for the position of FBI director.

Mueller claimed during his testimony before Congress on July 24 that he met with Trump but “not as a candidate.”

Mueller did not give further details as Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), who was questioning him at the time, moved on.

President Trump said on Wednesday that, “It has been reported that Robert Mueller is saying that he did not apply and interview for the job of FBI Director (and get turned down) the day before he was wrongfully appointed Special Counsel.”

“Hope he doesn’t say that under oath in that we have numerous witnesses to the interview, including the Vice President of the United States!” the president added.

Pence spokesperson Alyssa Farah told The Associated Press that the vice president “was present in the Oval Office when Robert Mueller interviewed for the job of FBI Director in May of 2017.”

Trump made a similar assertion in May after Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election was submitted, writing on Twitter: “Robert Mueller came to the Oval Office (along with other potential candidates) seeking to be named the Director of the FBI. He had already been in that position for 12 years, I told him NO. The next day he was named Special Counsel – A total Conflict of Interest. NICE!”

Mueller served 12 years as FBI director, including years under President Barack Obama.

Directors are normally limited to 10 years in office but Congress passed special legislation allowing him two more years, citing “the critical need for continuity and stability at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the face of ongoing threats to the United States and leadership transitions at the Federal agencies charged with protecting national security.”

Mueller was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17, 2017, a day after Mueller met with Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies before the House Judiciary Committee in Washington on Dec. 13, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

A number of reports around the same time reported that Mueller was a top candidate for the FBI director position. Two anonymous sources described as “familiar with the process” told NPR that the Trump administration was considering tapping Mueller as FBI head before Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.

“Mueller had gone so far as to meet with Justice Department leaders and White House officials about the FBI job, which opened after President Trump fired Director James Comey on May 9,” NPR reported.

“But that idea went by the wayside after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead reached out to Mueller to run the politically sensitive Russia probe, which is examining ties between Russians and Trump campaign aides, the sources said.”

According to the report submitted by Mueller’s team, then-White House advisor Steve Bannon told the team that Mueller was invited to the White House to speak to Trump “to offer a perspective on the institution of the FBI.”

Mueller “did not come in looking for the job” of FBI director, Bannon supposedly said.

Mueller later on Wednesday was asked by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) about whether he applied to be the FBI director under Trump.

“I did not apply for the job,” Mueller responded. “I was asked to give my input.”

Asked if he told Pence that he’d return for the director job, Mueller answered that he didn’t recall, reported Jared Halpern of Fox News radio.

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