President Donald Trump and his legal team have alleged special counsel and former FBI director Robert Mueller has a number of conflicts of interest that prevent him from objectively investigating Trump and his campaign and their combined interactions with Russian actors and the Russian government as part of the Putin-led-and-directed effort to interfere with the 2016 Presidential election.
Among the allegations Trump and his counsel have made is that Mueller is compromised as an objective investigator because he is a former — and now potentially disgruntled — member of Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., which was home to the 2017 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
The Washington Post reported Thursday night that Mueller allegedly resigned his membership to the club in 2011 in a dispute related to membership fees. However, that’s the story from two “White House advisers.” A Mueller spokesman denied membership fees were an issue when he resigned his membership.
UPDATE: In Special Counsel Mueller’s final report on his investigation, he laid out the truth of the nature of his resignation from Trump National Golf Club. There was no conflict over fees.
Mueller, according to Bloomberg News, is also digging into potential Russian-related conflicts in connection with real estate dealings and other Trump Organization financial connections. That investigation could turn toward how Trump financed his spending spree on golf clubs, particularly in the last 15 years. Golf author James Dodson told NPR in May about a 2014 interaction with Eric Trump in which the Trump son divulged Russian capital was crucial for the expanding Trump golf empire.
“He just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million,” Dodson said, recalling the conversation, which Eric Trump denies happened. “I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’
“He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.'”
Trump and his counsel are reportedly looking for potential conflicts of interest to not only discredit Mueller but also potentially set up a reason to convince someone in the Department of Justice — perhaps Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — to fire Mueller. The report also suggests Trump has been asking about his pardoning powers for himself, his family and members of his campaign staff.