WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump met with Bob Mueller the day before he was announced as special counsel to oversee the investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday.
The meeting was reportedly part of a White House effort to review Mueller, a former FBI Director, as a potential replacement for Comey at the bureau.
Mueller’s meeting was not on the president’s schedule, nor was Mueller present when other members of the shortlist, including former Sen. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, former FBI official Richard McFeely and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, met with Trump at the White House.
The announcement that Mueller would be taking the reins came as Trump was meeting with members of his short-list.
Sanders told reporters during an off-camera gaggle Thursday that the meeting should not be considered a conflict-of-interest since Trump was not aware that special counsel would be named.
Mueller, who served as FBI director for 12 years, was tapped to head the probe by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who penned a memo justifying Comey’s termination.
Trump named Christopher Wray, a former Justice Department official who recently served as personal attorney to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, as FBI director earlier this month.