Trump asked senior aides to describe interviews with Mueller: report
President Trump asked at least two witnesses interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller for information about what they discussed with Mueller’s team, according to The New York Times.
Trump reportedly told White House counsel Don McGahn he should issue a statement denying a previous Times report that said Mueller’s team had learned the president once asked McGahn to fire Mueller.
Trump also reportedly asked former chief of staff Reince Priebus during a December meeting how his interview with Mueller’s team had gone and if the investigators had been “nice.”
Priebus, according to the Times, told Trump that they had conducted themselves professionally.
According to the report, sources familiar with the conversations informed Mueller that the conversations happened, passing them on out of concern that they were of interest to Mueller’s ongoing investigation.
Both Priebus and McGahn declined to comment to the Times through their attorney, William Burck.
Mueller’s team of investigators is looking into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign conspired with Moscow to disrupt and influence the presidential race.
But the probe has also expanded to examine whether Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation.
Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a “witch hunt” and has insisted that it was the Democrats, rather than his campaign, that coordinated with the Russians during the election.
He has publicly and privately voiced deep frustration with the inquiry, which he has compared to a cloud hanging over his presidency.
The Times reported in late January that Trump once sought to have McGahn fire Mueller, but ultimately backed away from that demand after McGahn threatened to quit.
According to the latest Times report, former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last month following domestic abuse allegations, told McGahn that Trump wanted him to issue a statement denying that he had ever asked him to fire Mueller.
Porter reportedly told McGahn that Trump had suggested he would fire the White House counsel if he did not deny the Times’s story. However, McGahn did not dispute the allegation publicly.
He later told the president that the story was accurate and that the president had, in fact, asked him to ensure that Mueller was removed from his post, according to the Times.
-Updated 7:40 p.m.