Kelly is the latest high-ranking White House official known to provide information for Mueller’s investigation, though his interview marks a departure of sorts since Kelly didn’t join the White House until July 2017. Most of the dozens of other interviews have been with people who were associated with the Trump campaign, were part of the transition or served in the early part of the administration.
The White House counsel’s office had initially fought the Mueller request. One source familiar with the matter said that Emmett Flood wanted to make sure “ground rules” were negotiated.
“In order to question a government official about things that happened during the course of government business, you’ve got to show that it’s highly important and you can’t get it anywhere else,” the source said.
The source noted that the Kelly request came at a sensitive time, following raids of the home and office of Michael Cohen, the President’s now-former lawyer.
The resistance to Kelly doing an interview represented a key turn by the President and his attorneys who had previously allowed the special counsel to interview current and former White House staff and handed over hundreds of thousands of documents.