Mueller Wants to In­ter­view White House Staff

Has asked the White House about spe­cific meet­ings, who at­tended them and whether there are any notes, tran­scripts or doc­u­ments about them

The Economic Times - - Around The World -

Wash­ing­ton: In a sign that the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion will re­main a con­tin­u­ing dis­trac­tion for the White House, the spe­cial coun­sel, Robert Mueller, is in talks with the West Wing about in­ter­view­ing cur­rent and former se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing the re­cently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, ac­cord­ing to three peo­ple briefed on the dis­cus­sions.

Mueller has asked the White House about spe­cific meet­ings, who at­tended the­mand­whetherthere­are­anynotes, tran­scripts or doc­u­ments about them, two of the peo­ple said. Among the mat­ters Mueller wants to ask the of­fi­cials about is Pres­i­dent Trump’s de­ci­sion in May to fire the FBI di­rec­tor, James Comey, the two peo­ple said.

That line of ques­tion­ing will be im­por­tant as Mueller con­tin­ues to in­ves­ti­gate whether Trump ob­structed jus­tice in the dis­missal of Comey. No in­ter­views have been sched­uled, but in re­cent weeks Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion has ap­peared to in­ten­sify. Late last month, he took the ag­gres­sive step of ex­e­cut­ing a search war­rant at the home of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former cam­paign chair­man.

Mueller has ex­pressed in­ter­est in speak­ing with other ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the com­mu­ni­ca­tion­steam.ButTrump’s al­lies are par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about Mueller’s in­ter­est in talk­ing to Priebus.Trump’s con­fi­dants at the White House say Trump was never fully con­vinced that Priebus would be loyal to him.

Shortly after the Novem­ber elec­tion, Priebus was made chief of staff, and he was in­volved in the ma­jor de­ci­sions the pres­i­dent made dur­ing the tran­si­tion and in the first six months of the ad­min­is­tra­tion. Priebus made a point of be­ing in most meet­ings and tried t o b e awa r e o f what t he pres­i­dent was do­ing. Trump fired him last month. Priebus can po­ten­tially an­swer many ques­tions Mueller has about what oc­curred dur­ing the cam­paign and in the White House. Priebus ap­pears on the cal­en­dar of Manafort on the same day in June 2016 that Manafort and other cam­paign of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing Trump’s el­dest son and son-in-law — at­tended a meet­ing with Rus­sians who claimed to have dam­ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple briefed on the mat­ter. It is not clear whether Priebus and Manafort met that day.

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