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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Priebus denies that Trump wanted to fire Mueller

In this June 5, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump's then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus attends an event in the East Room at the White House in Washington. (Andrew Harnik / Associated Press)
By Shane Harris and Elise Viebeck Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Reince Priebus, the former White House chief of staff, said Sunday that he “never felt that the president was going to fire the special counsel,” disputing a report in The Washington Post that he was “incredibly concerned” that President Donald Trump was moving to fire Robert Mueller III last summer.

“I never heard that,” Priebus said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Pressed on whether he was aware of the president’s views on the issue, Priebus said Trump was “clear” about what he saw as Mueller’s conflicts of interest in the job and allowed that others may have “interpreted that” as Trump’s desire to fire Mueller.

“I never felt of all the things that we went through in the West Wing, I never felt that the president was going to fire the special counsel,” Priebus said. “I never heard that.”

Former White House communications Director Anthony Scaramucci told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that he would urge Trump not to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller’s probe.

“I would tell the president, if I was in his presence, ‘Do not fire him (Rosenstein). He’ll be fair and impartial. You may be upset about the politicization of what happened, but I don’t think it came from him. Give him a chance to sort this out with the rest of the department.’”

Scaramucci also said he hopes Trump decides not to testify before Mueller in the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“I actually don’t want him to testify because as a lawyer, I don’t want him caught in a ‘gotcha’ moment where someone accuses him of lying, where he may not remember something. … I would say, ‘Sir, there’s no reason to testify. Let the thing unfold the way it is.’”