This latest report could spell big trouble for former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Fox is reporting that multiple administration officials are saying that when Mueller met with President Donald Trump in May 2017, he was in fact pursuing the job as FBI Director.
Problem with this?
Mueller denied this under oath when he testified before Congress this year about his investigation. When he testified on July 24, Mueller claimed he thought that he was just being asked by Trump about what was needed in a candidate for the job. “My understanding was I was not applying for the job,” Mueller testified on July 24. “I was asked to give my input on what it would take to do the job.” Mueller had served as FBI Director under Barack Obama and under George W. Bush.
According to the officials talking to Fox, there are government documents, however, showing he was seeking the job.
According to emails obtained by Judicial Watch, it appears that he may have known he was also being considered for the Special Counsel position if he didn’t get the job as the FBI Director.
“The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions,” then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in an email to Mueller on May 12, 2017. Rosenstein’s boss was then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russia probe, meaning the president would not have known either.
A source close to Rosenstein confirmed to Fox News that he had confidential conversations with Mueller about whether he would be willing to serve in the event he needed to appoint a special counsel. These conversations began on May 12, 2017, prior to Mueller’s meeting with the president on May 16, 2017, the source acknowledged.
Trump has said repeatedly that Mueller interviewed for the job, didn’t get it and therefore it was a conflict for him to be Special Counsel.
According to Fox, Trump has also indicated that there were other witnesses to the meeting including the Vice President, Mike Pence.
“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” Trump tweeted the day of Mueller’s Capitol Hill testimony. “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!”
According to Fox, John Dowd, the president’s attorney, blasted Mueller, calling his conduct “most dishonorable” he had “ever witnessed” because he knew as he was being interviewed that if he didn’t get the job he was going to investigate Trump.
Mueller has gone back into private practice, rejoining his old firm, WilmerHale.
But it will be interesting to see what if anything Congress does in response to this report.