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Trump interviewed Robert Mueller for FBI director

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Former FBI Director James Comey coordinating with special counsel 07:01

A day before former FBI Director Robert Mueller accepted the appointment to be the special counsel probing Russian meddling in the presidential election, President Trump met with him to talk about taking another turn as FBI director.

The interview was first mentioned by Trump friend and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy in an interview on PBS' "NewsHour" Monday evening. 

Mr. Trump, Ruddy said, "was looking at [Mueller] potentially to become the next FBI director. That hasn't been published but it's true."

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Tuesday night to reporters that Mr. Trump interviewed Mueller "I believe the day before he was made special counsel."  Sanders said that while Mr. Trump has the right to fire Mueller, he has no intention of doing so. 

Mueller has already served 12 years as FBI director -- two years longer than the 10-year term. And to serve that extension -- under the Obama administration -- he had to be granted special dispensation by Congress. Had he been appointed again by Mr. Trump, Congress would likely have to weigh in again. The measure approved by Congress and signed by Obama explicitly states that Mueller "may not serve as Director after September 4, 2013."

President Trump's bruising week in the White House 02:46

Ruddy argued that Mueller should not have taken the job of special counsel because he was under consideration for the other position, and had had the private meeting with the president for the FBI director appointment.

The Justice Department declined CBS News' request for comment.

In the same interview, Ruddy said that the president was considering terminating Mueller as special counsel.

CBS News' Katiana Krawchenko, Mark Knoller, Jillian Hughes and Steven Portnoy contributed to this report.

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