Donald Trump’s former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus was interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller today, in a shocking move that raised questions about everything we thought we knew about Mueller’s progress in his Trump-Russia investigation. Priebus is too far up the food chain for Mueller to be interviewing this early – unless it was because Priebus was ready to flip on Trump. There’s another detail which suggests Priebus may not have done it in solo fashion.
Mueller’s strategy would be to interview everyone under Reince Priebus before even thinking about sitting down with him, so Mueller could take as much evidence and leverage into that meeting as possible. Even if Priebus volunteered to testify early, Mueller would likely turn him down unless Priebus was looking to make a deal. Priebus witnessed Trump’s obstruction of justice and may have even participated in it, but it’s easy to picture Mueller giving Priebus a free pass in exchange for damning testimony about Trump’s crimes. Here’s the catch: Priebus is inexorably tied to White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Not only did Reince Priebus and Don McGahn spend several years working closely together for the Republican National Committee, they also currently share the same attorney in the Trump-Russia scandal. If Priebus did flip on Friday, in legal terms it would mean that he flipped on everyone involved, including technically McGahn. This would make it impossible for them to have the same attorney, unless McGahn also flipped.
In fact their decision to share an attorney, in a scandal where they’re both potentially implicated for crimes, has screamed from the start that they’d end up making any decisions jointly. Reince Priebus’ meeting with Robert Mueller today probably means he’s flipped on Donald Trump – and by extension, it means Don McGahn has also probably flipped on Trump.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report