US President Donald Trump has insisted he will be cleared by special prosecutor Robert Mueller “in writing” of any wrongdoing in the ongoing Russia investigation, as he said he would not be firing Mr Mueller - despite recent reports suggesting he was poised to do so.
According to reports, sources and friends of the President, including a senior White House official, have said Mr Trump believes Mr Mueller will be writing a letter in the next few months that exonerates the President from any alleged collusion with Russian officials during the 2016 election.
“In recent weeks, Trump has privately seemed less frustrated about the investigation,” CNN reported.
Mr Trump has repeatedly called the FBI and parallel Congressional investigations into possible links between his campaign and Moscow a “witch hunt” of him and his family.
In private, the President reportedly called the probe “bulls***" and allegedly said: “I don’t know any Russians.”
He and the White House have also said on numerous occasions that there was no collusion.
However, the guilty pleas of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and former foreign affairs campaign aide George Papadopoulos - both indicted on charges of lying to the FBI about contacts with Russians - could ultimately prove otherwise.
Mr Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, and his deputy Rick Gates, were also indicted as part of the investigation, but on seemingly unrelated financial and fraud charges. Both men pleaded not guilty.
Despite Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, Ty Cobb, suggesting that Mr Flynn’s plea “clear[ed] the way for a prompt and reasonable conclusion" to the Russia probe, there is no evidence to suggest it will.
Despite the President’s allegedly positive mood regarding the outcome of the investigation, there were also rumours he would fire Mr Mueller after reports surfaced about anti-Trump texts sent by members of the Special Counsel’s team.
Republicans said there was obvious “political bias” on the team, compromising the integrity of any findings. The text messages also revealed that agents spoke derogatorily about several public figures, not just the President.
The President's supporters also suggested that Mr Mueller obtained thousands of emails - exchanged by 13 members of then President-Elect Trump's transition team - "unlawfully".
The emails - used by addresses with the .gov designation - were released by the federal government's administrative agency, the General Services Administration (GSA), but the transition team's lawyer, Kory Langhofer, said many of those emails fall under executive "privilege" and the confidentiality rules that apply to those communications.
He said the GSA "misappropriated" the information.
Over the weekend, Mr Trump reassured reporters that he would not fire Mr Mueller despite the controversy.
However, some experts have suggested he could fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead since he oversees the Russia investigation since Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from it.
Sources told CNN Mr Trump’s personal legal team may meet with the special prosecutor’s team this week.
On Sunday evening, as he returned to the White House from Camp David, the President was asked if he was planning to fire Mr Mueller.
According to the Associated Press, the president answered: “No, I'm not.”
He did, however, add to the growing conservative criticism of Mr Mueller's move to gain access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, yielding attacks from transition lawyers and renewing chatter that Mr Trump may act to end the investigation.
“It's not looking good. It's quite sad to see that, my people were very upset about it,” Mr Trump said. “I can't imagine there's anything on them, frankly. Because, as we said, there's no collusion. There's no collusion whatsoever.”
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