Even as President Donald Trump’s advisers encourage him to accept the realities of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, longtime friends and allies are pushing Trump to fight back, citing concerns that his lawyers are naive to the existential threat facing the president.
Trump supporters and associates inside and outside the White House see the conciliatory path as risky to the maverick president’s tenure. Instead, they want the street-fighting tweeter to criticize Mueller with abandon.
The struggle between supporters of the legal team’s steady, cooperative approach, and the band of Trump loyalists who yearn for a fight, comes as the Mueller probe begins lapping at the door of the Oval Office. Mueller, who is investigating the firing of former FBI director James Comey and other key actions of the Trump administration, has signaled that his team intends to interview multiple current and former White House officials in the coming weeks and has requested large batches of documents from the executive branch.
In private, Trump remains relatively calm for now, but that doesn’t mean he thinks the Russia probe is legitimate, and he could return to fighting Mueller at any moment, according to a group of about 15 Trump allies, advisers and former campaign aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to speak candidly about private conversations with the White House.