Trump jump-starts search for FBI chief with 2 interviews

WASHINGTON, May 30 (Reuters) - 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.

Possible replacements for FBI director James Comey
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Possible replacements for FBI director James Comey

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe

REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating  

REUTERS/Adrees Latif AL

FBI Executive Assistant Director Richard McFeely

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas 

Former Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) 

Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe

 (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

FBI Criminal Cyber, Response ad Services Branch Executive Assistant Director Paul Abbate

Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Former NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly

REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers

Photo by Stacie Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Former Prosecutor Michael Garcia

Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Federal Judge Henry Hudson

Photo by Jay Paul for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Former head of the Transportation Security Administration John Pistole

Photo by Andrew Burton for Reuters 

"The president will be meeting with two additional candidates this afternoon, both Chris Wray andJohn 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.

SEE ALSO: President Trump's personal attorney is now in the crosshairs of the Senate's Russia probe

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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