Before Robert Mueller was tapped to lead an independent investigation into President Trump's ties to Russian election meddling, the Trump team was seriously considering him for the job of FBI director. Citing "two sources familiar with the process," NPR reported Friday that Mueller was a "top candidate to lead the FBI" and that he'd gotten far enough along in the process that he'd met with officials at the White House and the Justice Department about the job.
Instead, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Mueller to head up the independent Russia probe, which was launched shortly after Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey on May 9. The fact that Rosenstein was willing to reach into the White House's pool of FBI director candidates "underscores the heavy pressure Rosenstein was under to find an independent law enforcement leader to take charge of the Russia probe," NPR noted.
Congress and the Justice Department have largely approved of Rosenstein's pick. Mueller previously served as FBI director under former President George W. Bush and former President Barack Obama.