On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Trump is trying to discredit Robert Mueller and his investigators as the inquiry into potential collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russia heats up. It all began on Wednesday when Trump told the publication that he believes Mueller's investigation involves some troublesome conflicts of interest. Now, according to three people who know about the supposed research into Mueller's investigators, Trump's team is spearheading an investigation of its own.
At this point, it's old news that Trump has called the Russia collusion investigation a "witch hunt" and has firmly denied ever working with the Russian government to win the 2016 presidential election. However, Trump aides' supposed effort to dig for conflicts of interest among Mueller's investigators marks a new hostility toward the special counsel.
During his interview with the Times on Wednesday, Trump warned investigators to stay within their bounds and not venture into matters that don't involve Russia. In fact, Trump specifically said that investigators would be crossing the line if they began looking closely at his family's finances.
“I think that’s a violation," he said. "Look, this is about Russia.” Though the uneasiness seems palpable, Trump maintained that he doesn't believe he's under investigation. "I didn’t do anything wrong," he reiterated.
However, the special counsel is reportedly investigating whether or not Trump obstructed justice by firing former FBI Director James Comey in early May.
On Thursday, one of Trump's private lawyers, Jay Sekulow suggested to The Washington Post that Trump is just making sure the investigation remains on-task and objective:
The fact is that the president is concerned about conflicts that exist within the special counsel’s office and any changes in the scope of the investigation. The scope is going to have to stay within his mandate. If there’s drifting, we’re going to object.
Mueller isn't the only ones who's being doubted by the president. Trump has recently turned against some of his closest allies, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions. On Wednesday, he said he regretted appointing Sessions and wouldn't have done so if he had known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Needless to say, Trump is really not pleased with the way this investigation is dragging out. As CNN noted, no president in history has ever pardoned himself from an investigation, but at this point, little is outside of the realm of possibility in this political environment.