John Pistole, the former No. 2 at the FBI, had a meeting with President Trump Tuesday afternoon at the White House, according to one of Pistole’s former colleagues who wasn’t authorized to officially release the information. Pistole is said to be interviewing for the position of FBI director.
Reported by USA Today, Pistole, who was also the previous head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is being considered as a replacement for former FBI Director James Comey. According to the report, Comey and Pistole are still “close.”
Pistole graduated from Anderson University, earned a law degree from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, then joined the FBI in 1983. Following the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, Pistole ran the agency’s counterterrorism division. In 2004, he was elevated to the FBI’s second highest position when he was named deputy director. Pistole’s final six years as deputy director were served under under Robert Mueller.
Mueller was recently appointed by The Justice Department as special counsel to oversee the FBI’s Russia investigation, looking into allegations of interference in the 2016 presidential election. When Mueller was selected, Pistole was pleased. At the time, he told USA Today it was “the best thing for the FBI, to get to the bottom of everything and bring some closure, whatever the outcome.”
Pistole’s extensive law enforcement experience and good relationship with politicians of all parties made him the subject of speculation early on, as names for Comey’s replacement were suggested. Reportedly, Pistole has declined to be interviewed for the post previously.
Pistole is currently president of Anderson University, a Christian university in his hometown of Anderson, Indiana. The “deeply religious Pistole” has a a good relationship with Dan Coats, director of national intelligence, and Vice President Mike Pence, both former Indiana state politicians.
Pistole has been described as “hard-nosed,” able to withstand pressure from the White House and members of Congress, and he’s credited with boosting the TSA’s “professionalism” and effectiveness when he was director of the agency.
Five candidates previously tapped to replace Comey have removed themselves from consideration since Comey’s dismissal on May 9, including former Sen. Joe Lieberman, Rep. Trey Gowdy and Sen. John Cornyn.
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