Even with Trump warning, Mueller likely to probe finances

AP PHOTO
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, leaves after a closed-door meeting of that panel on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday. The Senate intelligence committee has scheduled perhaps the most high-profile testimony involving the Russian meddling probes since former FBI Director James Comey appeared in June.

AP PHOTO Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., center, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, leaves after a closed-door meeting of that panel on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday. The Senate intelligence committee has scheduled perhaps the most high-profile testimony involving the Russian meddling probes since former FBI Director James Comey appeared in June.

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s growing anxiety about the federal Russia probe has spilled into public view with his warning that special counsel Robert Mueller would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances. But that’s a line that Mueller seems sure to cross.

Several of Trump’s family members and close advisers have already become ensnared in the investigations, including son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Probing the family’s sprawling business ties would bring an investigation the president has called a partisan “witch hunt” even closer to the Oval Office.

Trump told The New York Times it would be a “violation” of Mueller’s formal charge if he looked into the president’s personal finances.

That comment came amid news reports that the special counsel is interested in Trump’s business transactions with Russians and with one of his main lenders, Deutsche Bank.

In the same interview with the Times, Trump also lashed out at Attorney General Jeff Sessions; James Comey, the FBI director he fired; Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director who replaced Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed the special counsel. The president’s comments were a reminder of Trump’s willingness to target his own appointees and blur lines that have traditionally existed between the White House and Justice Department investigations.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that Trump had no intention of firing Mueller “at this time,” but she did not rule out doing so in the future. She also reiterated Trump’s concern about the scope of Mueller’s investigation, saying it “should stay in the confines of meddling, Russia meddling, and the election and nothing beyond that.”