Trump’s new chief of staff needs to ‘protect’ Russia investigation, Democrat says
Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Trump’s new White House chief of staff has “got to protect” the Russia investigation from “continued assault” by the president, said former Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, who also served as chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton at the end of his second term.
Podesta told “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday that Trump’s new chief of staff, Ret. Gen. John Kelly, is responsible for safeguarding the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller, who heads the Russia probe, from interference by the White House.
“It’s going to be his job to provide a bulwark against interference by the White House,” Podesta said, adding that such interference would “get them in more trouble rather than less.”
The president has publicly slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions over his recusing himself from the federal investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible ties to Trump associates. The attorney general’s recusing himself ultimately led to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel.
The president’s public criticism has led some observers to question whether Trump might try to replace Sessions with an attorney general who could oversee the Russia probe and potentially remove Mueller.
That possibility has prompted warnings from some Republicans as well as Democrats.
“Any effort to go after Mueller could be the beginning of the end of the Trump presidency,” GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Thursday.
Beyond the Russia probe, Podesta said one question about Kelly’s appointment as the new White House chief of staff is whether Trump will give the former general the authority to fully do his job.
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