Trump jump starts search for FBI chief with two interviews


WASHINGTON President Donald Trump on Tuesday was scheduled to interview two candidates to replace James Comey as head of the FBI, former agency No. 2 James Pistole and former Assistant Attorney General Chris Wray, the White House said.

The interviews mark a re-start of sorts for the search to find someone to replace Comey, who Trump fired on May 9. Trump said earlier this month he was “very close” to picking a nominee for the post and he had already met with several candidates.

“The president will be meeting with two additional candidates this afternoon, both Chris Wray and John Pistole,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters. “When the president feels as though he’s met with the right candidate he’ll let us know.”

Pistole, the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, served as deputy director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2004 to 2010. USA Today was first to report that Trump would be meeting with Pistole.

Wray served as assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005.

Comey was leading an FBI probe into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election. His dismissal prompted an outcry from Democrats and some Republican lawmakers and raised questions about whether the president was trying to interfere with the investigation.

The week after Comey was fired, reports emerged that Trump had asked Comey to end the agency’s investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia, according to a source who has seen a memo of the conversation written by Comey.

The Department of Justice appointed a special counsel, former FBI director Robert Mueller, to head an independent investigation of the Russia matter.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Ayesha Rascoe, writing by Doina Chiacu and Tim Ahmann; editing by David Alexander and Grant McCool)


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