White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who is reported not to be on speaking terms with Donald Trump anymore, was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team as part of the Russia probe, CNN reported on Friday.
Earlier today, per the Inquisitr, reports emerged that Kelly, whose relationship with Trump has apparently taken a turn for the worse, was set to leave the White House in the coming days. It is apparently a mutual decision, although Kelly was allegedly becoming increasingly frustrated with Trump repeatedly bypassing the protocols established by the retired Marine Corps general since taking over as the White House Chief of Staff in July 2017.
Now, on the heels of reports claiming that Kelly is leaving the White House because his relationship with Trump is no longer “sustainable,” CNN is reporting that Robert Mueller’s team questioned John Kelly. The subject of this questioning, per CNN, lies in relation to the investigation as to whether or not Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI director James Comey. It is a departure of sorts from the other subjects questioned by Mueller’s team — in that Kelly was not part of the Trump transition team — and it is therefore believed that Mueller’s team kept the questions restricted to the “obstruction” angle.
Some of the details as to what Kelly might have been questioned about have also been reported. For instance, Mueller’s team was most interested in knowing Kelly’s recollection of an episode that reportedly took place after some reports had detailed how Trump had gone about firing Comey.
“The President was angry at then-White House counsel Don McGahn about what had been reported by the New York Times. McGahn had refused to publicly deny the reporting. The special counsel wanted to try to corroborate McGahn’s version of events.”
White House counsel Emmet Flood was reportedly hesitant to let Mueller’s team have an interview with Kelly — but finally relented after establishing “ground rules” which stated that the special counsel’s team could only question the retired Marine Corps general on the “obstruction” angle, and nothing more.
NEW: John Kelly reportedly questioned by Mueller in obstruction probe https://t.co/oKlNobmsQC
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) December 7, 2018
Also on Friday morning, Mueller’s team is set to file sentencing memos on former Trump associates Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, both of whom have pleaded guilty to several crimes. The report, which is unreleased at the time of writing, has already prompted a response from the president on Twitter. He accused Mueller’s investigation of being steeped in “conflicts of interest” in a Twitter barrage Friday morning, leading former CIA director John Brennan to characterize Trump’s behavior as “increasingly desperate.”