President Trump has sent messages of “appreciation” to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, one of his attorneys told USA Today on Tuesday.
“He appreciates what Bob Mueller is doing,” John Dowd, Trump’s chief counsel, told USA Today. “He asked me to share that with him and that’s what I’ve done.”
Dowd said that Trump asked him to passage along messages expressing “appreciation and greetings.”
“The president has sent messages back and forth,” Dowd told the newspaper, without providing more detail.
If true, the messages would run counter to reports that Trump is unhappy with Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.
Trump has called Mueller’s probe a “witch hunt” and has suggested that the former FBI director is in danger of crossing a “red line” with his ever-expanding inquiry.
While Mueller began by investigating the collusion angle, he has expanded the investigation in recent weeks to look at Trump’s business dealings and those of his family members. Mueller is also now using two grand juries for the investigation, one in Virginia and one in Washington, D.C.
Trump has also discussed ways to fire Mueller, according to various news reports based on unnamed White House officials.
Trump has also publicly expressed frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Doing so paved the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller to the special counsel position in May, days after James Comey was fired as FBI director.
But Dowd denies that Trump has considered firing Mueller.
“That’s never been on the table, never,” said Dowd. “It’s a manifestation of the media. My dealings with Bob Mueller have always been cordial, respectful — the way it should be.”
It is not clear whether Mueller has responded to the messages from Trump.
A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment about Dowd’s claims. But USA Today did change the headline of its article after publication. The headline initially stated that Trump “exchanged” messages with Mueller. The new version says that Trump merely sent messages to Mueller.