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Mueller's latest request suggests trouble for Trump's White House

When it comes to the Russia scandal, Donald Trump likes to insist he isn't personally under investigation. That's almost certainly wrong.
A US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference on Dec. 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Getty)
A US Department of Justice seal is displayed on a podium during a news conference on Dec. 11, 2012 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.

For months, Donald Trump has responded to questions about his Russia scandal by insisting, with great vigor, that he isn't personally under investigation -- even if his political operation and top former aides are. But a couple of weeks ago, there was a slight shift in the president's rhetoric.

"As far as I'm concerned, I haven't been told that we're under investigation, I'm not under investigation," Trump said.

This is, however, a knowable thing. As far as Trump is "concerned," he's not being investigated, but the president's perspective is of limited value. He has no idea what lines of inquiry federal investigators are pursuing and isn't necessarily in a position to know who is and isn't under investigation.

Meanwhile, there are ample reports that suggest the special counsel's investigation is, in fact, keenly interested in actions the president took while in office that were directly related to the scandal. ABC News had this report last night:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team investigating whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct a federal inquiry into connections between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives has now directed the Justice Department to turn over a broad array of documents, ABC News has learned.In particular, Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter, according to a source who has not seen the specific request but was told about it.

ABC News' report, which hasn't been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, added that this line of inquiry "marks the special counsel's first records request to the Justice Department, and it means Mueller is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation."

The piece went on to say, "The latest move suggests the Special Counsel is still actively digging into, among other matters, whether Trump or any other administration official improperly tried to influence an ongoing investigation."

All of this comes just two months after related reporting from the Washington Post and New York Times, which Rachel highlighted on the show, which noted the Mueller's team "requested extensive records and email correspondence from the White House, covering areas including the president's private discussions about firing his FBI director."

It now appears, based on ABC News' reporting, that the special counsel's office is similarly interested in the Justice Department's records on the same subject.

As for Trump's insistence that he's not under investigation, there appears to be quite a bit of evidence to the contrary.