No, it’s not Sean Spicer. Remember all that talk last year about how Spicer naively took copious notes about every meeting he attended in Donald Trump’s White House? For all we know, Robert Mueller might have those notes as well. But this is a whole new ballgame, because a more important (and less naive) White House official has also handed over far more damaging notes to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The highest ranking official in any White House is the Chief of Staff. For the majority of 2017, that role was occupied by Reince Priebus. A new article from the New York Times is mainly focused on the obstruction crimes committed by Jeff Sessions, but it also contains this stunning revelation: “The special counsel has received handwritten notes from Mr. Trump’s former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, showing that Mr. Trump talked to Mr. Priebus about how he had called Mr. Comey to urge him to say publicly that he was not under investigation.” (link). Let’s think this through, because it tells us a lot.
First, it means that Priebus began taking notes early on in his White House tenure for a reason. Spicer was too much of a naive buffoon to realize he was creating an evidence trail by taking detailed notes every day; he reportedly only took the notes so he could remember what he was doing, and he’d done so at every previous job he’d ever had. In contrast, Priebus used to run the Republican National Committee. He now runs a law firm. He knew that by taking notes, he was creating an evidence trail and positioning himself as an eventual star witness. That could only be because he knew this would all come home to roost, and he wanted a get out of jail free pass when the time came.
Second, this means that Priebus gave his notes to Mueller voluntarily. These were his own personal notes, not some official White House record that would have been automatically handed over in a document dump. So now there is no longer any question that Priebus has flipped on Trump. Third, because Priebus and White House Counsel Don McGahn are still sharing the same attorney in the Russia scandal, this means that McGahn must have also flipped; the attorney would have had to dump one of the two clients if only one of them had flipped.
Fourth, Reince Priebus was interviewed by Robert Mueller back in mid October. This would have been when Priebus turned over his notes. In other words, Mueller has had this damning evidence against Donald Trump for nearly three months. He’s been using it to continue building the criminal case against Trump all this time, and it’s only becoming public now. As always, Mueller is several steps ahead of everyone else involved.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report