US President Donald Trump’s lawyers and supporters have recently been mounting criticism of special counsel Robert Mueller and the investigation he is leading into the alleged collusion between the Trump team and Russia.
"As the investigation has reached deeper into Mr. Trump’s inner circle, that image of cooperation has begun to fracture," the New York Times said.
The latest salvo against Mueller emerged over the weekend after a lawyer for the Trump transition team said in a letter to Congress that Mueller’s office unlawfully obtained documents for its Russia probe from the General Services Administration. The lawyer, Kory Langhofer said the documents included thousands of emails sent and received by senior transition officials and were provided to investigators without sending a notice.
The White House sought to play down the significance of Langhofer’s letter, saying the materials were an issue for the transition team, not the West Wing.
The White House has stressed that the presidential administration continues to completely cooperate with Mueller’s office, but the recent attacks against the special counsel have fueled concerns among Democrats that Trump may be preparing to terminate him, according to the newspaper.
On Sunday, asked whether he was planning to remove Mueller, Trump said, "No, I’m not." He also stressed that there was "no collusion whatsoever" between his team and Moscow.
Two people who have spoken to the president recently told The New York Times that Trump was "far more frustrated" with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Mr. Trump has said that Mr. Wray has not moved quickly enough to rid the bureau of senior officials who were biased against Mr. Trump and had worked for James B. Comey, the director whom Mr. Trump fired in May," the newspaper said.
Mueller’s investigation was launched in May to look into evidence that Russia allegedly attempted to influence the results of the 2016 US presidential election, a claim that has been repeatedly denied both by Moscow and President Trump.
As part of the ongoing investigation, Trump’s former National Security Adviser Flynn has pleaded guilty to charges that he made false statements to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador to the US Sergei Kislyak. Flynn is the fourth member of the Trump campaign to face charges in the ongoing Russia probe, along with former campaign manager Paul Manafort, his business associate Rick Gates and former foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous. President Trump has on more than one occasion referred to the said inquiry as a "witch hunt."