Priebus: ‘Never felt’ Trump was going to fire Mueller
Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus said he never felt during his tenure that President Donald Trump was angling to remove former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel.
“I never felt, of all the things we went through in the West Wing, I never felt that the President was going to fire the special counsel,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The New York Times reported that Trump directed Mueller’s firing last June only to have White House counsel Don McGahn refuse the order. The President denied late last month that he ever called for Mueller’s firing.
Priebus, who was chief of staff from the beginning of the administration until late July, said Trump had made it clear he was concerned about “conflicts of interest he felt that the special counsel had.”
“Perhaps someone interpreted that to mean something else,” Priebus said.
Asked if McGahn had ever expressed concern about that, Priebus said, “Not in particular.”
White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said Friday that there would be “no changes” at the Justice Department after Trump refused to say whether he would fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has oversight of the special counsel investigation.
The news that Trump moved to fire Mueller last June came as increased scrutiny has grown around a potential interview Trump could have with the special counsel investigators, a topic that Trump and his lawyers have wavered on in public comments.
Priebus declined to say what he thought Trump should do and left the matter to Trump’s attorneys. The former White House chief of staff has already spoken with special counsel investigators and declined to talk about what he told them.
“I only know what I dealt with, and I can just tell you I never felt that there was some sort of collusion or some kind of obstruction situation going on in the West Wing,” Priebus said.