Trump lashes out, cites 'massive conflicts of interest' in Russia probe

President TrumpDonald John TrumpIran claims it rejected Trump meeting requests 8 times ESPY host jokes Putin was as happy after Trump summit as Ovechkin winning Stanley Cup Russian ambassador: Trump made ‘verbal agreements’ with Putin MORE unloaded on special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe in a Monday morning tweet, calling the investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election a “witch hunt” filled with “massive conflicts of interest.”

That tweet follows a weekend in which the president vented his frustration with Mueller, singling out the special counsel for criticism by name for the first time and raising questions about whether he is preparing to fire him. 

There have been conflicting signals coming from Trump’s legal team about whether a Mueller firing is imminent, although the White House has consistently said it is working with the special counsel in hopes of bringing the investigation to a swift conclusion.

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On Sunday, Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, called on Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinKey GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s walk-back fails to stem outrage on Putin meeting Trump's Russia remarks put intel chiefs in tough spot MORE, who is overseeing the special counsel because Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsKey GOP lawmaker throws cold water on Rosenstein impeachment With new immigration policy, Trump administration gutting the right to asylum Homeland Security advisory council members resign over family separations: report MORE recused himself, to end the investigation.

"I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by [Andrew] McCabe’s boss James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIntelligence officials showed Trump classified proof Putin ordered election interference: report FBI director says Russian influence efforts are ‘very active’ Ex-Clinton press secretary Fallon rejects Comey endorsement of Democrats in midterms MORE based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier,” Dowd said.

But Ty Cobb, Trump’s White House attorney in charge of dealing with Mueller, sought to squash the budding questions over whether a firing was imminent.

“In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration, the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller,” Cobb said in a statement.

Trump over the weekend also lashed out at the FBI and the Department of Justice in a searing string of tweets that escalated his feud with law enforcement officials.

The president’s Monday tweet about a conflicts of interest could be an effort to lay the groundwork for a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department's handling of the separate investigations into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE's handling of classified material and into Trump campaign officials.

The Justice Department must have evidence of a crime and a conflict of interest to launch a second special counsel.

Late Friday night, Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe just days before he was set to retire with full pension benefits.

The FBI’s personnel office had recommended McCabe be fired, but some Republicans have said the firing appeared malicious in light of McCabe’s intent to retire.

The FBI inspector general will release a report soon that is expected to be critical of McCabe’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s personal email server.

McCabe was briefly the acting director at the FBI after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, who is slated next month to release a tell-all book about his interactions with Trump. 

After his firing, McCabe launched a media blitz to get his side of the story out, saying the firing was part of the president’s effort to undermine the special counsel.

Like Comey, McCabe says he has kept memos of his interactions with the president.