The indictments against former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and his top deputies in the House Russia scandal could bring to an end a political and business relationship that has stretched from the George W. Bush administration through the Trump administration.
The indictments also come at a time when the president is trying to reassert his political authority and to push back against the fallout of a special counsel’s investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election.
Priebus and his deputies have been charged with obstruction of justice, conspiracy, and making false statements.
They have not been charged as part of a broader federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.
The House indictment says that on at least two occasions during the first half of 2017, Priebus and other members of his staff sought to block an investigation into whether Trump aides had colluded with the Russian government to interfere with the presidential election.
The charges against the two aides are based on information that they had access to about the investigation, the indictment said.
In the days before the inauguration, Priebus allegedly called a former Trump transition official and said, “You know, the investigation is going to blow up in their faces, and they’re going to be all, ‘Dude, this is a witch hunt.
There’s no collusion.
It’s a witch-hunt!'”
The indictment also alleges that in the weeks leading up to the inauguration in January, Priebus, then-chief of staff Katie Walsh and other Trump officials allegedly directed and pressured a former colleague, a Republican lobbyist, to influence the House to vote down a bipartisan bill that would have expanded a tax credit for low-income Americans.
That act failed, and Republicans used the vote to impeach Trump, which he eventually did.
A Trump transition aide told the House Intelligence Committee that the president’s team asked Walsh to pressure a House Republican to support the bill that ultimately failed, the report said.
The indictment alleges that after the House passed the bipartisan legislation in late January, the then-presidential adviser called Walsh to ask her to push the measure through the House.
In a subsequent phone call, the adviser allegedly told Walsh, “I need you to push this thing through, because it’s going to save face in the Senate,” according to the House report.
“I want you to make sure you make sure the vote is done, because the Senate will be on board.
And then I’m gonna say, ‘Katie, we have to do this thing, so we can save face.’
And then she told me that the vote was not going to pass.
And I said, ‘What’s that about?’ and she said, she’s going, ‘Well, you know, Reince, we’re gonna get the bill passed.'”
The former White the White House aide told House investigators that she told Walsh that the effort to impeached Trump would fail, and that the House would vote down the bill.
“Reince told me, ‘Look, Katie, you have to push it through because it saves face in Congress,'” the House investigation said.
“He told me the vote wasn’t going to go through, and I said to him, ‘But Reince?’
He said, `No, Katie.
We’re gonna do this.
This was a blatant attempt to obstruct the House’s investigation,” the indictment added.””
In the ensuing phone call with the White to tell her that, Reich assured her that she had succeeded in getting the bill done,” the House document said.
“This was a blatant attempt to obstruct the House’s investigation,” the indictment added.
“Reich then informed Katie Walsh that he was working on behalf of the President and would continue to work on behalf the President in the White Houses effort to protect him and his associates from the House investigations.”
The House investigation found that on Jan. 3, 2017, the White was asked to draft an op-ed in the Washington Post and that she shared that op-Ed with Priebus and Walsh.
“In a subsequent call, Reisch told Katie Walsh he had a story about the House vote on the tax bill and that he would work with her to pass the bill and help to protect Priebus and the President,” the document said, referring to the op-eds.
“Kelly told Reince that she agreed with Reince’s story, but would not be able to support it, as it would put Reince at odds with the President, and Priebus would not want Kelly to be part of the effort, the House concluded.
Kelly, in a subsequent conversation with Priebus, told him that she wanted to support Priebus’s op-edit, the summary said.
But Priebus, in his response to Kelly, told her that the op was going to fail and that they would need to go with the original op-editor, the statement said.
Kelly told Priebus that she would be fine with it.”
In an interview with Kelly, Reict advised Kelly that the President would need her support to get