Reports: Trump’s lawyers probe conflict of interest among Mueller’s investigators

President Donald Trump is reshuffling his legal team.
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President Donald Trump is reshuffling his legal team.

Credit: Alex Wong

Credit: Alex Wong

President Donald Trump’s legal team is evaluating potential conflicts of interest among the investigators hired by special counsel Robert S. Mueller, according to several reports.

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The New York Times reported that the president's lawyers are digging into the professional and political backgrounds of Mueller's team members, seeking information they could use to discredit the probe. The Times, quoting three unnamed sources, said the background checks could even be used to fire Mueller or get some members of his team recused.

The Washington Post, also citing anonymous sources, said Trump's lawyers are discussing the president's authority to grant pardons. One source said Trump asked about his power to pardon aides, family members or even himself.

Trump’s lawyers refused to comment on the issue, the Post reported. However, one adviser said the president was simply trying to understand the breadth of his pardoning authority, along with the limits of Mueller’s investigation.

“This is not in the context of ‘I can’t wait to pardon myself,’” the Post reported, citing a close adviser.

A conflict of interest is one instance that an attorney can cite to remove a special counsel from office under Justice Department rules, the Post reported.

Mueller’s team has begun examining financial records and has requested documents from the Internal Revenue Service related to Paul J. Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, the Times reported. The records are from a criminal investigation that took place before Trump’s campaign began, and Manafort was not charged in that case, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Trump is reshuffling his legal team, CNN reported.

Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal attorney, will see his role diminished, CNN reported. John Dowd, along with Jay Sekolow, will take over as the president’s personal attorneys for the investigation, CNN reported. Dowd will be the lead attorney.

Reuters reported early Friday that Trump's outside legal team spokesman, Mark Corallo, has resigned.

Corallo, in an emailed statement Thursday, gave no other details about his departure.

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