In the middle of the public outcry over the far right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, there is a new development in the Russia scandal.
No matter how hard he tries, President Donald Trump is not going to be able to get away from the Russia investigation any time soon. Him and those close to him will be held accountable.
According to a new report from the New York Times, Special Counsel Robert Mueller now wants to interview current and former White House officials, including former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.
Priebus was abruptly ousted late last month following him finding himself in conflict with the president’s then-communications director, Anthony Scaramucci. What Mueller wants to know is if Priebus knows anything about President Trump’s abrupt decision earlier this year to fire FBI Director James Comey.
Comey, at the time of his firing, was helping lead the Russia investigation, and his firing came after the president allegedly attempted to pressure Comey into dropping the portion of that investigation focusing on Trump’s long ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey’s firing has been pinned down as a possible instance of “obstruction of justice” on the president’s part, and Special Counsel Mueller has since taken up the task of investigating these charges against the president.
According to “three people briefed on the discussions” who spoke to the New York Times, Mueller has “asked the White House about specific meetings, who attended them and whether there were any notes, transcripts, or documents about them.” The sources speaking to the New York Times call the issue of Comey’s firing “among” the issues that Mueller’s team is inquiring about.
A member of the president’s legal team, Ty Cobb, declined to comment to the New York Times beyond saying that the Trump administration would “continue to fully cooperate” with the Russia investigation. Reince Priebus “did not return messages seeking comment.”
Trump allies are reportedly “particularly concerned” about Mueller seeking out Priebus, since Trump “was never fully convinced that Mr. Priebus would be loyal to him.”
Priebus, as former Chairman of the Republican National Committee, did not only work in the Trump White House, he also worked with the president when he was still just the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. Thus, he potentially has a lot of insight to share on the inner workings of the Trump team and any indications of illegal activity.
Among other things, Priebus is reported to have met with Comey a week before the former FBI Director says that the president attempted to pressure him into dropping the investigation into Michael Flynn. Comey is alleged by a law enforcement source speaking to the New York Times to have explained a policy to the then-Chief of Staff that forbids discussions between White House officials and Justice Department officials about ongoing investigations.
It’s not clear, however, whether or not Priebus ever relayed information about that policy or that meeting to the president. If Priebus did relay information about the meeting to Trump, it would destroy the already shallow argument that he “didn’t mean” to do anything wrong.
Additionally, Comey has testified that Priebus was well aware of the private meeting that Trump took with him to try and pressure him to end the Flynn investigation.
No interviews have been reportedly scheduled yet.
Featured Image via Alex Wong/Getty Images.