Lawyers for President Donald Trump are working on a conflict of interest case against special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, reports the Washington Post, and Trump has asked advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members, and himself, for any possible crimes linked to Mueller's probe.
Trump's lawyers are exploring his pardoning powers, report Carol D. Leonnig, Ashley Parker, Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger at the Post.
"This is not in the context of, 'I can't wait to pardon myself,' " a close adviser told the paper. Oh. Okay.
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.
Breaking a tradition that began with President Jimmy Carter, 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.