A White House correspondent for the New York Times confirmed that the shakeup of President Donald Trump's legal team was related to the effort to attack the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller.
MSNBC's Nicole Wallace, the former communications chief for President George W. Bush, pointed out that Mueller, who guided the FBI in the aftermath of 9/11, enjoyed a sterling reputation among both Democrats and Republicans.
"I know nothing is sacred with this man, but do you sense anyone around him is trying to pump the brakes on the character assassination of Bob Mueller?" Wallace said.
Times reporter Peter Baker said some of Trump's team was advising the president against attacking Mueller, and he said some of his legal advisers have already quit over their disagreement with the strategy.
"People around him definitely are," Baker said. "This is, in fact, connected to the other thing you were talking about, the sort of blowup of the legal team. some of the lawyers told him don't go after Robert Mueller. First of all, this guy is a good guy, he is a smart guy, a person of integrity."
"In fact," Baker continued, "some of the lawyers have said to the president, in effect, if you didn't do anything wrong and we think you don't have anything to worry about in terms of the Russia investigation, then you should want Robert Mueller at your special counsel, because if he finds that, if that's his conclusion, it will have credibility on both sides of the aisle, so don't do that."
Mark Corallo, who worked with Mueller in the Justice Department under Bush, resigned Thursday as spokesman and communications strategist for Trump's legal team, and Baker said that was related to the strategy to discredit the special counsel.
"He though that Robert Mueller was a person of integrity and that they shouldn't be attacking him," Baker said. "So this is a point of stress within the Trump team."