Former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus on Sunday insisted he never heard President Donald Trump say he wanted Russia investigation special counsel Robert Mueller fired last summer.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Priebus, who left the White House ahead of John Kelly’s appointment as chief of staff last summer, was asked about an explosive New York Times report last month that the president wanted Mueller axed.
"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,” he said, adding he never heard Trump utter words that he wanted Mueller “fired” or “gone.”
“I never heard that,” he declared.
"I think it was very clear by the president's own words that he was concerned about the conflicts of interest that he felt that the special counsel had, and he made that very clear,” Priebus said.
“Perhaps someone interpreted that to mean something else. But I know the difference between ‘fire that person, why isn't that person gone,’ to what I read in that New York Times piece. So when I read that, I'm just telling you, I didn't feel that when I was there."
"I think he expressed his concerns with the conflicts, but I never heard the idea or the concept that this person needed to be fired,” he continued. “I never felt like it was relayed to me that way either. And I would know the difference between a level 10 situation as reported in that story, and what was reality. It just, to me, it wasn't reality."
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