The Times notes that figures close to the administration are concerned with Mueller’s probing into Priebus, who was chair of the Republican National Committee and worked closely with the Trump campaign during the election.
Mueller has requested from the White House information pertaining to specific meetings that have taken place, the Times reports. In Mr. Comey’s meeting with Mr. Priebus, Mr. Comey told Mr. Priebus about a Justice Department policy that largely bars discussions between White House officials and the F.B.I. about continuing investigations in order to prevent political meddling – or at least the appearance of it – in the bureau’s work, according to the law enforcement official.
The Times reports that Mueller is particularly interested in Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey in May and, presumably, whether he was trying to derail the bureau’s Russian Federation probe.
Mr Mueller is considering whether Mr Trump obstructed justice with his dismissal of Mr Comey, which would be grounds for impeachment.
Indications that Mueller’s investigation is intensifying was evident last week when he executed a warrant to search the Alexandria, Va., home of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman. He has frequently said that the White House will cooperate with Mueller’s investigation and that he hopes it will be completed quickly.
Mr Priebus is likely to be familiar with the details of all White House meetings.
Mr Trump denies claims he has threatened to fire Mr Mueller for not concluding the investigation more swiftly, insisting “I haven’t given it any thought”.
Priebus can potentially answer many questions Mueller has about what occurred during the campaign and in the White House.
According to the New York Times, Mueller’s office is now in contact with the White House about interviewing former and current senior staff at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While Priebus was apparently listed on Manafort’s calendar that same day in June 2016, it is unknown if the two men met, the Times reported. According to testimony Mr. Comey provided to Congress, Mr. Priebus knows that Mr. Comey had the one-on-one encounter with Mr. Trump on February 14, when Mr. Comey has said Mr. Trump asked him to end the Flynn investigation.
Mr Priebus said he had resigned privately and Mr Trump thanked him for his service, although it was widely reported that he was effectively fired after being involved in all the major decisions made by the President during the transition period and the turbulent first months of his tenure. Comey also testified that Trump ordered the Vice President, senior administration officials and Priebus to leave the Oval Office after a national security briefing. Mr. Trump has said that the meeting did not occur and that he did not ask Mr. Comey to end the inquiry.
Right after the door closed, Comey said, Trump asked him to end the Flynn investigation. According to testimony Comey provided to Congress, Priebus knows that Comey had the one-on-one encounter with Trump on February 14, when Comey has said Trump asked him to end the Flynn investigation.
Flynn was asked to resign February 13 – one day before Comey said his discussion with Trump about Flynn occurred – after it became public that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about whether he had discussed US sanctions during pre-inauguration phone calls with the then-Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak. The president waved at him to close the door, saying he would be done shortly.