White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has been considered the relative voice of reason within Donald Trump’s otherwise extremist and dysfunctional White House. Further, Priebus is not known to have any particular personal loyalty to Donald Trump, and certainly not to the point of incriminating himself for Trump’s benefit. So what motivated him to break the law this week by asking the FBI to help scuttle the Trump-Russia scandal?
That’s a question that’s likely keeping Reince Priebus up at night right about now, with the FBI not only having refused his request, but also having subsequently leaked his transgression to the media yesterday. What was he thinking? He violated White House rules and regulations the minute he picked up the phone and had any direct contact with the FBI at all – and that’s before getting to the part where he obstructed justice by trying to pressure the FBI into throwing Trump a lifeline.
Based on who had knowledge of the incident, it seems a given that FBI Director James Comey or his deputy or someone close to them at the FBI must have been the party that leaked it to CNN. So not only did they rebuff Priebus, they publicly ratted him out for it. That suggests they intend to take Priebus down over this. And that’s par for the course with these kinds of investigations. They’ll offer Priebus some kind of leniency in exchange for coming clean on everything he knows about Trump-Russia.
So whether he’s given immunity or not, Reince Priebus is going down for this. He’ll lose his job, he’s finished in politics, and it’s a matter of who else he takes down with him. Which takes us back to the question of why he decided to break the law just to try to make Trump’s scandal go away. Keep in mind that Priebus was RNC Chair for the entire time Trump was running for president. Was he in on the Russian election rigging? Until now there’s been no reason to suspect as much. But why would he incriminate himself in a last ditch effort to protect Trump, unless he was part of the conspiracy?
This raises new questions about how deep within the Republican Party the Trump-Russia scandal may have gone. After all, Priebus was the Chair of the Republican National Committee during the time the Trump-Russia campaign collusion was taking place, and now he’s willing to criminally obstruct justice just to try to keep the full story from coming out.
Even if Trump is ousted over Russia and Mike Pence becomes president, it seems logical that Priebus would have remained White House Chief of Staff, and probably gained more power in the process (Pence’s first move would be to fire Steve Bannon). So it seems less likely that Reince Priebus was trying to protect Donald Trump by pressuring the FBI to make Trump-Russia go away, and more likely that Priebus was either trying to protect himself or protect the Republican Party.
Who else in the Republican Party knew about the Russian election rigging as it was taking place? This may go far beyond Donald Trump or his people. Now that Priebus has been caught in the act, and will have to give people up to save himself, who all will he end up taking down with him? Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report