It has become increasingly obvious that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — which was supposed to look into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election — has wandered far afield in search of any other crimes that can be hung on President Donald Trump, such as a charge of obstruction of justice.
Accordingly, Mueller and his team of prosecutors and investigators have interviewed dozens of individuals associated with Trump’s campaign, presidential transition team and early administration. CNN reported that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has also been interviewed by Mueller’s team in recent months, citing three unnamed sources with “knowledge of the matter.”
The interview was said to have been narrowly limited after the White House initially objected to a more wide-ranging interview.
Potential obstruction of justice
At the heart of those specific questions was an allegation of potential obstruction of justice — which, mind you, never actually occurred — that stemmed from rumors that Trump wanted to find a way to fire Mueller and end the investigation.
Also bear in mind that, much like the baseless allegations of obstruction of justice related to Trump’s firing of disgraced FBI Director James Comey, it is entirely within the purview of the president to fire anyone in the Executive Branch — of which Mueller would be included — and doing so would not constitute any sort of crime or violation or obstruction of justice.
That rumor about Trump wanting to fire Mueller came from a report from The New York Times which mentioned then-White House counsel Don McGahn, who didn’t publicly deny the report, which was said to have greatly angered the president.
Mueller’s team was reportedly interviewed Kelly for the purpose of corroborating the account attributed to McGahn by The Times.
A “narrow” interview with Kelly
CNN further reported that the White House had initially fought Mueller’s request for an interview with Kelly, with White House counsel Emmett Flood reportedly negotiating “ground rules” before allowing the interview.
An unnamed source summarized Flood’s position as: “In order to question a government official about things that happened during the course of government business, you’ve got to show that it’s highly important and you can’t get it anywhere else.”
Mueller’s request was said to have come at a “sensitive time” for the White House, in the days following the FBI raids on the home and office of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
It is unclear at this time what, if anything, of value to the special counsel Kelly may have shared in the interview.
In separate, but perhaps related news, it was confirmed by President Trump on Saturday that Kelly will be stepping down from his role as chief of staff and leaving the White House at the end of the year, a development the liberal media has been prematurely reporting almost since Kelly first took the position in July 2017.