Tensions between President Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are heating up.
In a New York Times interview, the President warned Mueller would be crossing a red line if his family’s finances were probed. Bloomberg came out with a report today, outlining Mueller’s plan to investigation the Trump Organization. The Washington Post now claims that President Trump’s legal team are exploring ways to “scale back” Mueller’s investigation. This is great news, considering many believe Mueller is not an independent arbiter of the investigation and is abusing his power by investigating trivial business transactions.
As per the Washington Post:
Some of President Trump’s lawyers are exploring ways to limit or undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, building a case against what they allege are his conflicts of interest and discussing the president’s authority to grant pardons, according to people familiar with the effort.
Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe, according to one of those people. A second person said Trump’s lawyers have been discussing the president’s pardoning powers among themselves.
Trump’s legal team declined to comment on the issue. But one adviser said the president has simply expressed a curiosity in understanding the reach of his pardoning authority, as well as the limits of Mueller’s investigation.
“This is not in the context of, ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,” a close adviser said.
With the Russia investigation continuing to widen, Trump’s lawyers are working to corral the probe and question the propriety of the special counsel’s work. They are actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work, according to several of Trump’s legal advisers.
A conflict of interest is one of the possible grounds that can be cited by an attorney general to remove a special counsel from office under Justice Department regulations that set rules for the job.
The President has long suspected Mueller was not an impartial person in leading the probe, as he is close with former FBI Director James Comey, who Trump fired. In an interview with Fox News, Trump called Mueller’s friendship with Comey “bothersome.”
President Donald Trump would not say whether he believed special counsel Robert Mueller should recuse himself from the Justice Department’s probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but he cast the former FBI director’s relationship with his successor, James Comey, as “very bothersome.”
“He’s very, very good friends with Comey, which is very bothersome,” Trump said of Mueller during an interview with Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” according to early transcript excerpts. The president went on to claim that those leading the federal government inquiry “were all Hillary Clinton supporters.”
Several allies of Trump and right-wing political figures in recent days have publicly called for Mueller’s recusal from the investigation. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an outspoken supporter of Trump and one-time Cabinet contender, said Saturday on Fox News that “to the degree that Comey’s involved, Mueller, in theory, should recuse himself.” Last week, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert called on the government to “get rid of” “dirty” Mueller from the investigation.
Trump surrogates like Roger Stone have called for Mueller to be fired. Stone branded the probe a “witch hunt.”
The Washington Examiner reported:
“I’d fire Mueller and Rosenstein for wasting the taxpayers’ money. This is a witch hunt,” Stone said, parroting a line from Trump.
Stone suggested Trump take such action during an interview with CNNMoney at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition in New York.
Mueller, a former FBI director, is currently overseeing the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Though Mueller is leading the investigation, Rosenstein still addresses matters related to the probe, since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. Rosenstein appointed the special counsel, whose budget comes from the Justice Department.