jeff mueller

Trump just warned Robert Mueller not to look into his finances — it might be too late for that

  • In an interview with the New York Times on Wednesday, President Donald Trump warned special counsel for the Russia investigation Robert Mueller not to look into his personal finances.
  • Moments after that interview was released, the Times released a separate story reporting that banking regulators are already taking a deep look into Trump’s relationship with the German banking giant Deutsche Bank, and they expect to soon be hearing from Mueller as well. Read more (7/19/17)

Trump suggests that the FBI director should report directly to him

  • Also in the interview with the Times, Trump suggested that he believes the FBI director should report directly to him, not the attorney general.
  • In a portion of the interview that picks up with Trump talking about Nixon, Trump claims that the FBI director was always supposed to report to the president of the United States, and only began reporting to the Justice Department out of “courtesy.” Read more (7/19/17)

Trump says he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions if he knew he’d recuse himself from the Russia matter

  • Finally, in the same interview with the New York Times, Trump told reporters that he would not have appointed Jeff Sessions to be attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself from the Russia matter.
  • “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.” Read more (7/19/17)
THIS IS THE SCENARIO THAT A LOT OF US FEARED: Trump and his lawyers plan to sabotage Mueller's Russia investigation
President’s legal team is looking to build a case against what they say is the special counsel’s conflicts of interest.

Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman, and Tom Hamburger at WaPo

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 is also irritated by the notion that Mueller’s probe could reach into his and his family’s finances, advisers said.

Trump has been fuming about the probe in recent weeks as he has been informed about the legal questions that he and his family could face. His primary frustration centers on why allegations that his campaign coordinated with Russia should spread into scrutinizing many years of Trump dealmaking. He has told aides he was especially disturbed after learning Mueller would be able to access several years of his tax returns.

Trump has repeatedly refused to make his tax returns public after first claiming he could not do so because he was under audit or after promising to release them after an IRS audit was completed. All presidents since Jimmy Carter have released their tax returns.


Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s private lawyers, said in an interview Thursday that the president and his legal team are intent on making sure Mueller stays within the boundaries of his assignment as special counsel. He said they will complain directly to Mueller if necessary.  


Following Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James B. Comey — in part because of his displeasure with the FBI’s Russia investigation — Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel in a written order. That order gave Mueller broad authority to investigate links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, as well as “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation” and any crimes committed in response to the investigation, such as perjury or obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s probe has already expanded to include an examination of whether Trump obstructed justice in his dealings with Comey, as well as the business activities of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.


Traditionally, Justice Department leaders have sought to maintain a certain degree of autonomy from the White House as a means of ensuring prosecutorial independence.

But Sessions’s situation is more unusual, law enforcement officials said, because he has angered the president for apparently being too independent while also angering many at the FBI for his role in the president’s firing of Comey.

As a result, there is far less communication among those three key parts of the government than in years past, several officials said.

Currently, the discussions of pardoning authority by Trump’s legal team are purely theoretical, according to two people familiar with the ongoing conversations. But if Trump pardoned himself in the face of the ongoing Mueller investigation, it would set off a legal and political firestorm, first around the question of whether a president can use the constitutional pardon power in that way.

“This is a fiercely debated but unresolved legal question,” said Brian C. Kalt, a constitutional law expert at Michigan State University who has written extensively on the question.

The power to pardon is granted to the president in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, which gives the commander in chief the power to “grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” That means pardon authority extends to federal criminal prosecution but not to state level or impeachment inquiries.

No president has sought to pardon himself, so no courts have reviewed it. Although Kalt says the weight of the law argues against a president pardoning himself, he says the question is open and predicts such an action would move through the courts all the way to the Supreme Court.


James Comey seems like the kind of guy who might be intimidated by Trump and Jeff Sessions, but Robert Mueller looks like he means serious business. If I were on the Trump administration, I would be troubled af. This cat is NOT gonna back down

And reportedly, some of the best criminal prosecutors possible are being assembled 😊😊

Bonus: the news of the obstruction of justice investigation dropped on Trump’s birthday 😊😊😊

Extra Bonus: it’s a safe bet that Robert Mueller isn’t gonna stop at Trump. This means Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions are probably being investigated too 😊😊😊😊

Okay, take my hand and come with me on this one guys…. 

On top of the various congressional, FBI and state level investigations, we have Robert Mueller. 

Mueller is the Special Counsel appointed by the Justice Department to run an independent investigation into the Russian Connection, Flynn, Comey’s firing, and now, it’s been reported that he is looking into POTUS for Obstruction of Justice. 

A Special Counsel normally reports to the Attorney General, who would present the findings to Congress and the nation. 

Except, Jeff Sessions has recused himself because of his attachment to the Trump Campaign.

Which means Mueller now reports to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. 


Rosenstein wrote the memo that White House claims is the reason Comey was fired.  

Which means the investigation involves him. 

Which means he will need to recuse himself. 

Which means…. 

Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand may be about to become the person responsible for all of this mess.
Citing Recusal, Trump Says He Wouldn’t Have Hired Sessions
The president also said in an interview that Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, would cross a red line if he delved into Trump family finances unrelated to Russia.
By Peter Baker, Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman

Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job, and I would have picked somebody else. … So Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself. I then have — which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the president. How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I can’t, you know, I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair, and that’s a mild word, to the president.


Things to know in advance of the coming weeks:

The President cannot directly fire Special Counselor Bob Mueller.

The Attorney General can. 

AG Jeff Sessions has recused himself, and cannot fire Bob Mueller. 

The Deputy AG, Rod Rosenstein would be under pressure to fire Mueller. 

The President can order Rosenstein to fire Mueller

Rosenstein can refuse. 

Rosenstein can be fired by the President.

Rachel Brand is the next in line at the Justice Department.