Podesta: New White House chief of staff needs to protect Mueller from Trump

John Podesta, Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes The Memo: Democrats confront prospect of long primary Manafort sought to hurt Clinton 2016 campaign efforts in key states: NYT MORE’s former campaign chairman, on Sunday urged newly appointed White House chief of staff John Kelly to protect special counsel Robert Mueller and his ongoing investigation into Russian election interference in last year's election.

"You might be surprised to hear me say this, I think he's got to protect the Justice Department, and I think he's got to protect Bob Mueller and the investigation that is going on there from the continued assault by the president and the White House," Podesta told host Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Podesta suggested some might consider it a surprising comment because of President Trump's attempts to tie Clinton to Russia. The ongoing probe is looking at any possible collusion between campaigns and Moscow during the 2016 election. Trump has called it a "witch hunt."

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"It is going to be his job to provide a bulwark against interference by the White House," Podesta said, adding that this is likely the "most difficult thing [Kelly] needs to do" in this new role.

Podesta, who served as chief of staff under former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Biden, Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg, Harris lead Trump in Georgia: Poll Keep your eye on essential facts in the unfolding impeachment circus MORE, also expressed confidence that Kelly will stand up to the president.

"I do, actually," he said.