Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Politics

Mueller looks to interview six former or current Trump aides

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller has alerted the White House that his team will likely seek to interview six top current and former advisers to President Donald Trump who were witnesses to several episodes relevant to the investigation of Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, people familiar with the request told the Washington Post.

Mueller's interest in the aides, including trusted adviser Hope Hicks, ex-press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief of staff Reince Priebus, reflects how the investigation that has dogged Trump's presidency is starting to penetrate a closer circle of aides around the president.

Each of the six advisers was privy to important internal discussions that have drawn the interest of Mueller's investigators, including his decision in May to fire FBI director James Comey and the White House's initial inaction following warnings that then-national security adviser Michael Flynn had withheld information from the public about his private discussions in December with Russia's ambassador to the United States, people familiar with the inquiry told the Washington Post.

The advisers are also connected to a series of internal documents that Mueller's investigators have asked the White House to produce, the newspaper reported, speaking to people familiar with the special counsel's inquiry.

Roughly four weeks ago, the special counsel's team provided the White House with the names of the first group of current and former Trump advisers and aides that investigators expect to question.

In addition to Priebus, Spicer and Hicks, Mueller has notified the White House he will likely seek to question White House counsel Don McGahn, and one of his deputies, James Burnham. Mueller's office has also told the White House that investigators may want to interview Josh Raffel, a White House spokesman who works closely with Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

White House officials are expecting that Mueller will seek additional interviews, possibly with family members, including Kushner, who is a West Wing senior adviser, the people familiar with Mueller's inquiry told the Post.

Spicer declined to comment, while Priebus did not respond to a request for comment.

Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer focused on the inquiry, declined to comment on behalf of current White House aides McGahn, Burnham, Hicks and Raffel.

Cobb also declined to discuss the details of Mueller's requests.

"Out of respect for the special counsel and his process and so we don't interfere with that in any way, the White House doesn't comment on specific requests for documents and potential witnesses," Cobb said.

A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.

No interviews have been scheduled, people familiar with the requests said. Mueller's team is waiting to first review the documents, which the White House has been working to turn over for the last three weeks.

But people familiar with the investigation told the Post that the documents Mueller has requested strongly suggest the topics that he and his investigators would broach with the aides.

CNN first reported on Thursday that Mueller has sought interviews with White House staff related to the preparation of that statement but did not name them.

Comments

Pasco Political Notebook for Aug. 17

Republican Club hosts candidate forum at meetingThe West Pasco Republican Club will host an "Election Extravaganza" candidate forum at its meeting Aug. 21 at Heritage Springs Country Club, 11345 Robert Trent Jones Parkway, Trinity. A social time will...
Published: 08/13/18
Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting in Pasco: Here’s what to remember when you head to the polls

Early voting Pasco County begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 25, with 11 locations across the county for voters.Polls are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 20-24, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug...
Published: 08/13/18
Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

Largo election cancelled as incumbents stay with no opposition

LARGO — There will be no suspense in the city when elections arrive Nov. 6. In fact, there will be no election at all, because all four city commissioners whose seats were up were re-elected by default when no one came forward by the end of the candi...
Published: 08/13/18
Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

Florida candidate tried to prove she’s a college graduate. The school says her diploma is fake.

The political kerfuffle around Melissa Howard began when a news site reported that the Florida state House hopeful is not a college graduate, as she claims to be. To prove the story wrong, Howard, R, reportedly flew to her proclaimed alma mater, Ohio...
Published: 08/12/18
Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

Romano: Two years later, politicians still ignoring Florida voters on medical marijuana

The war is over, except no one in Tallahassee has bothered to read the news.And so Florida continues its daft fight against medical marijuana. All of which means patients are being left behind, voters are getting ignored, and lawyers are buying fanci...
Published: 08/11/18
Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

Hillsborough, tops in state for drug-addicted babies, will file suit against opioid makers

TAMPA — Hillsborough County plans to file a lawsuit next week against companies that manufacture opioid drugs, alleging that aggressive marketing of painkillers worsened the opioid crisis.The county joins a number of other local governments nationwid...
Published: 08/10/18
Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

Ex-aide Omarosa says she refused hush money, pens White House memoir calling Trump racist

WASHINGTON — Omarosa Manigault Newman was offered a $15,000-a-month contract from President Donald Trump’s campaign to stay silent after being fired from her job as a White House aide by Chief of Staff John Kelly last December, according to a forthco...
Published: 08/10/18
Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Carlton: Sorry, Gov. Scott, but college students can early vote after all. Hey, USF, talking to you here...

Good news, at least for those of us who keep believing in that old-fashioned notion that voting should be open and accessible to everyone who’s qualified.Even if they’re, say, young voters. And even if certain politicians do not like the direction in...
Published: 08/10/18
Sheriff finds himself at center of political stand your ground storm

Sheriff finds himself at center of political stand your ground storm

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has never been one to shy away from tough decisions.He’s also not known to back off from explaining them publicly.So his 30-minute and 55-minute news conferences to talk about why he didn’t arrest Michael Drejka ...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18
Retired attorney and businesswoman challenge two-term Hernando commissioner

Retired attorney and businesswoman challenge two-term Hernando commissioner

BROOKSVILLE — As the District 2 Hernando County commissioner, Wayne Dukes hopes his public service over the past eight years has earned him another term on the board. But two other Republicans on the ballot for the Aug. 28 primary election would like...
Published: 08/09/18
Updated: 08/10/18