Developments on Day 421 of the Trump Administration:

See also Podcast: Week in TrumpLand — Trump’s Russia Silence, Tillerson Gone, Mueller Closes In…and Then There’s Stormy

Trump and His Lawyer Point to Move v. Mueller

UPDATE 1215 GMT: Inspired by Fox TV, Donald Trump opens Sunday morning with a Twitter assault on former FBI Director James Comey:

Buoyed by his vindictive dismissal of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, Donald Trump makes a move — via Twitter — towards the shutdown of the Russia investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

On Friday, Trump fired McCabe, both to prevent the retiring director from collecting a full Government pension and to continue his attempt to deny the legitimacy of the FBI and the Russia inquiry.

See TrumpWatch, Day 421: Trump Fires Deputy FBI Director

Trump then took to Twitter on Saturday, highlighting an imminent showdown by naming Mueller for the first time in a garbled, misleading account of developments:

Trump is striking back after a wave of revelations — unconnected with the FBI’s surveillance of Trump advisor Carter Page, suspected of being a Russian agent — that Mueller is closing on the President and his inner circle, after a series of convictions and indictments over Russia links.

The Special Counsel is already examining the contacts between the Trump campaign/transition and Russian officials and possible obstruction of justice by Trump. However, a series of recent stories about Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner have highlighted the examination of conflict between business and politics.

Last week it was confirmed that Mueller has subpoenaed the financial records of the Trump Organization, defying Trump’s red line against any examination of him or his family over their business affairs.

See TrumpWatch, Day 420: Mueller Subpoenas Trump Organization Records on Russia

Earlier in the day, Trump’s lawyer John Dowd raised suspicions of a move against Mueller, as he called for the end of the investigation in a statement to The Daily Beast. He said he was speaking on behalf of Trump

Later — apparently on instructions from the White House — Dowd said that he was only commenting in a personal capacity, but he repeated his “prayer”, in words that would recur in Trump’s tweet:

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 McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is the only person with formal authority to remove Mueller. He is overseeing the Russia investigation after Sessions had recused himself from the probe in March 2017 because of his connection with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Politico reporter Daniel Lippman reports on the modd inside the White House:

McCabe Is Cooperating with Mueller

However, even as Trump went on the offensive, the scale of his difficulties became apparent with the confirmation that Andrew McCabe is cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller.

Associates of McCabe indicated that the deputy director kept notes of contacts with Trump. These could corroborate the account of FBI Director James Comey, fired by Trump in May 2017 in an unsuccessful attempt to halt the Russia inquiry, or add to this with revelations of Trump’s pressure after McCabe became Acting Director following Comey’s removal.

Comey also intervened on Saturday, weeks before his memoir is released: