In an exclusive interview with Reuters, President Donald Trump said that he doesn't have to stay out of the special counsel's probe.
"I could run it if I want," Jeff Mason quoted Trump in the interview.
The line was reminiscent of the 2016 Republican Convention speech in which Trump proclaimed, "I alone can fix it." The difference being, Trump is already being criticized for asserting himself in the investigation.
"You know, I hate to sound like I am repeating a 20 alarm fire here, but that is extremely, extremely scary to hear the president of the United States say that," said CNN's Mark Preston. "Very authoritarian like. Something you would hear from a country like Turkey, the leader of Turkey saying, 'Look, these laws don't fit what I want them to fit, so I'm going to change them.' That's exactly what he is saying. Most importantly, if he were to step forward, Congress would have to act. They could no longer talk about investigating, they would have to take action."
Washington Post reporter David Swerdlick said that he views the comments as a threat.
"If things get closer to him or his circle, he may take steps," Swerdlick said. "In one sense he does run it. He is the head of the government, but it suggests that he finds himself or thinks himself to be above the law, not subject to an investigation of this kind, which it is as Mark says, is something you would see in an authoritarian government."
Watch the panel discussion below: