- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 14, 2017

Reince Priebus, President Trump’s former chief of staff, was interviewed Friday by members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators as part of the Justice Department’s sprawling probe centered around last year’s election, according to his attorney.

Mr. Priebus was voluntarily interviewed by Special Counsel Mueller’s team today,” William Burck, a lawyer for Mr. Priebus, said in a statement. “He was happy to answer all of their questions.”

The interview took place at the special counsel’s office in Washington, D.C., and had been in the works for several weeks, according to multiple news reports.

Mr. Priebus didn’t respond Friday to requests for comment, the reports said, and Mr. Mueller, a former FBI director appointed in May to investigate the 2016 U.S. presidential election, has refused to publicly discuss the probe.

Mr. Priebus was chairman of the Republican National Committee during Mr. Trump’s successful 2016 campaign and subsequently served as the president’s first chief of staff prior to resigning July 27, six months and a week into his White House tenure. He was replaced the next day by John Kelly, a retired Marine general and Mr. Trump’s first secretary of Homeland Security.

The special counsel’s probe was initiated to investigate any links or coordination between the Russian government and Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign, as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation,” including allegations concerning the president’s conduct before and after defeating Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in last year’s election.

That investigation has reportedly broadened in the last five months to take into consideration matters including Mr. Trump’s abrupt firing in May of FBI Director James Comey, a misleading statement written about his oldest son’s meeting with a Russian lawyer and the business dealings of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and ousted former adviser Michael Flynn, among other matters.

Having overseen both the RNC and internal White House operations, Mr. Priebus uniquely stands to provide the special counsel’s team with valuable information concerning both Mr. Trump’s campaign and his first few months in office.

Investigators are expected to interview several current and former Trump administration staffers, including former press secretary Sean Spicer and current communications director Hope Hicks, among others, but Mr. Priebus is the first senior White House official past or present known to have answered questions for the special counsel’s office, The New York Times reported.

U.S. intelligence officials attest that Russian President Vladimir Putin meddled in last year’s White House race by authorizing the deployment of state-sponsored hackers, propagandists and other operatives tasked with targeting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.

Mr. Mueller’s team and members of committees in the House and Senate are currently conducted separate but similar investigations of their own concerning the Kremlin alleged role in last year’s election, as well as any possible collusion between Mr. Trump’s inner-circle and Russian operatives.

Moscow has denied interfering in last year’s U.S. presidential election.

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