On September 8, 2017, it was reported that:

Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly told the White House that his team will seek to interview six senior and former aides to President Trump as part of the federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Among those Mueller's team is interested in interviewing are former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, former chief of staff Reince Priebus ...

Why would Mueller notify the White House that he wants to interview people who are no longer employed there? That seems unnecessary and would possibly give the White House an opportunity to contact those people and attempt to influence what they say.


1 Answer 1


The main reason why is, although they are no longer part of the White House, they are being interviewed about events related to their time in the White House or the Trump campaign. If, for instance, there was some sort of national security or executive privilege claim that the administration wanted to put forward to prevent them from answering questions on a particular topic, they'd need to know ahead of time that the people in question were being interviewed. Probably they will want to have some sort of legal counsel there to represent the administration, separate from the individuals' representation, and try to intervene if a discussion moves in that direction.

That paragraph is speaking in an ideal sense and how arguments will be framed when offered. The reality is that anything that might look bad or actually be legally damaging is going to be met by some sort of claim of that sort, because that's how legal defense works and it's been practiced that way by every President who has ever been investigated, regardless of political party or where they fall on the spectrum. Don't take that paragraph to be making any judgement about the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of the arguments that will be offered to shut down questioning.

  • What happens if the White House makes such a claim in order to prevent a line of questioning, and Mueller disagrees - who would resolve that? Oct 5, 2017 at 5:34
  • @pacoverflow - a federal judge, with it possibly escalating all the way to the Supreme Court Oct 5, 2017 at 13:43
  • I'm going to pretend my answer was selected as best because it was awesome, not because there were no other choices. Oct 5, 2017 at 21:43

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