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
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.