Washington, Jan 25: US President Donald Trump has asked FBI Director James Comey, who faced criticism over his handling of an inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email, to stay on the job despite their differences, according to a media report.
Comey told his top law enforcement agents from around the country that he had been asked by President Trump to stay on the job, according to people familiar with the matter. A decision to retain Comey would spare the president another potentially bruising confirmation battle.
It would also keep Comey at the center of the FBI's investigation into several Trump associates and their potential ties with the Russian government, The New York Times reported.
Retaining Comey could also help calm the bureau's work force, which has been rattled after a tumultuous few months in which the FBI and the director himself were sharply criticised for moves that many felt influenced the outcome of the presidential election, it said.
Comey's unusually public role in the election-season investigation into Clinton's handling of classified information on her private email server as secretary of state has made him a target of criticism from Democrats, many of whom believe he cost her the election.
The justice department's internal watchdog, earlier this month, announced an investigation into the department and the FBI's handling of the Clinton email probe. At a reception for law enforcement officials in the White House on Sunday, Trump greeted Comey with a nod to the FBI director's status.
"He's become more famous than me," CNN quoted Trump as saying.
During the campaign, Trump had harshly criticised the FBI and the justice department for not bringing criminal charges against Clinton in connection with her use of a personal email server. After Trump was elected in November, he said in a nationally televised interview that he had not made up his mind about whether he would ask Comey to resign.
Under federal law, the FBI director is appointed to a 10-year term, intended to overlap more than one administration as part of post-Watergate overhauls created to give the director independence and insulate the job from politics. The president can fire the director, though.
Comey, a former senior justice department official under President George W Bush, was appointed by President Obama in 2013. Comey will have to manage an increasingly difficult relationship with Trump and his White House, as the FBI is leading an investigation into ties between Trump''s associates - including his former campaign manager, Paul Manafort - and the Russian government, the NYT said.
As part of that inquiry, agents have examined intercepted communications and financial transactions. Comey has repeatedly declined to discuss the investigation with members of Congress.