Reports: Trump's Lawyers Are Trying to Undercut the Mueller Russia Investigation

Lawyers working for U.S. President Donald Trump are reportedly compiling material designed to undercut special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, trying to find areas that can point to a conflict of interest, The Washington Post has reported

Among those interviewed for the Post story, one person said the president is also looking into how presidential pardons work. "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," the Post reported.

There was no response by the lawyers to the story, but the Post quoted one adviser who 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."

If his lawyers find a conflict of interest, it could be used as a reason to remove Mueller from his assignment. 

The New York Times has also reported that Trump aides are investigating Mueller's background, as well as the political and professional backgrounds of people Mueller has hired to help him with the Russia investigation.

"The search for potential conflicts is wide-ranging," The New York Times reported. "It includes scrutinizing donations to Democratic candidates, investigators’ past clients and Mr. Mueller’s relationship with James B. Comey, whose firing as FBI director is part of the special counsel’s investigation." 

In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump told reporters he would never have hired the long-time Alabama senator Jeff Sessions as his attorney-general if he'd known that Sessions would have recused himself from the Russia investigation.

“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,” Trump said in the interview. 

Trump has expressed continual frustration at the attention the media has paid to the Russia probe as he struggles to gain momentum six months into office. The recent failure of the latest attempt to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature health care law has foundered, and progress on the Hill on a reformed tax code has stalled, but the White House would rather focus on positive news like recent partnership initiatives—this week it was pharmaceutical companies—to invest in American jobs and manufacturing and the continuing decline of the unemployment rate

Yet the Russia investigation looms large. While overseas, Trump had to contend with his son Donald Trump Jr. being caught up in the probe and this week, it was reported that Mueller has expanded the investigation to take in Trump's business empire, as well as financial dealings of his one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort.