It was widely understood in 2017 that former FBI Director Robert Mueller had been interviewed by President Donald Trump as a potential replacement for the disgraced James Comey who had just been fired from the same role. Mueller was not chosen as Comey’s successor, however, and was instead named special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation by then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
It has now been confirmed by White House officials that Mueller did indeed seek to be the director of the FBI again post-Comey, which stands in stark contrast to his sworn testimony before Congress in which he stated that he hadn’t sought out the job and was simply advising Trump in his search for a candidate.
Mueller sought FBI job in 2017
Fox News reported that “multiple administration officials” have confirmed that, yes, Mueller was actively interviewing with Trump in May 2017 for the position as head of the FBI, a job he held during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Furthermore, those unnamed officials also stated that government documents exist which prove that Mueller had officially thrown his hat in the ring as a candidate for the job.
However, in July 2019 when Mueller testified before committees in Congress about his final report on the investigation into alleged Russian collusion and obstruction of justice by President Trump, Mueller said something completely different — while under oath — about his 2017 interaction with Trump.
Mueller testified that he was not looking to become the FBI director again, but was merely advising the president on what sort of qualities he should seek in other potential candidates for the job.
Trump’s words of caution
Given the disparity in Mueller’s testimony and what the White House has confirmed — supposedly with supporting documentation — it now appears that Mueller may very well have committed perjury by making a false statement during his appearance before Congress in July.
Interestingly, President Trump had alluded to as much in a social media post the morning of Mueller’s testimony.
He tweeted: “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!”
All of this comes on the heels of a stunning revelation by government watchdog group Judicial Watch that Mueller likely knew that he would be named special counsel for the Russia probe even before he met with Trump to discuss the FBI job.
Judicial Watch used a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain key emails pertaining to Mueller and Rosenstein, at least one of which indicated that the two officials had secretly been in contact with each other to discuss the potential special counsel appointment at least four days prior to Mueller’s meeting with Trump.
That information, in conjunction with his apparent perjury, further undermines Mueller’s rapidly dwindling credibility. Whether anything comes of this, legally speaking, remains to be seen.