Look, I don’t know exactly what is going on here, but here is what I do know: The NYTimes reports tonight that Donald Trump spoke with both White House Counsel Don McGahn and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus about their conversations with Robert Mueller.
In McGahn’s case, Mueller learned that Trump asked McGahn to fire Mueller last year. McGahn refused to do so. Later, the Times ran a report stating that McGahn had refused an order from Trump to fire Mueller. After that Times report came out, Trump asked Rob Porter to tell McGahn that if he didn’t deny the story, Trump would fire him. McGahn nevertheless refused to deny the story (for reasons unknown, he obviously was not fired).
In the case of Priebus, the former Chief of Staff visited Trump in December and Trump asked him how his testimony to Mueller had gone. Preibus didn’t offer much in the way of details.
However, it is not wise for Trump to talk to those who have spoken to Mueller about the case because it can raise concerns about witness tampering. Also, all of this only enhances Mueller’s case for obstruction of justice, and given that Meuller has indicted several people for the simple act of lying to him, the case of obstruction certainly seems like a slam dunk to me. This new Times report creates evidence that is all the more damning in a potential obstruction case.
The interesting thing to me about both of these accounts — between Preibus and McGahn — is that John Kelly appeared to be present for conversations with both men. From the NYTimes:
Mr. McGahn did not publicly deny the article, and the president later confronted him in the Oval Office in front of the White House chief of staff, John F. Kelly, according to the people.
Mr. Trump brought up Mr. Priebus’s October interview with the special counsel’s office, the people said, and Mr. Priebus replied that the investigators were courteous and professional. He shared no specifics and did not say what he had told investigators, and the conversation moved on after a few minutes, those briefed on it said. Mr. Kelly was present for that conversation as well, and it was not clear whether he tried to stop the discussion.
Hmmmm. I wonder who the NYTimes source on this article was? I mean, I’m just spitballing here, but maybe it’s the guy who was present for conversations with both people, and the guy who Donald Trump has encouraged Anthony Scaramucci to smear in the press? I mean, Trump has clearly been running a whisper campaign against John Kelly for weeks. Could this be John Kelly’s revenge? Is John Kelly running his own campaign to get Trump impeached?