And if so, Trump's new chief of staff, John Kelly, will have a major role in determining just how that confrontation plays out.
In his effort to rescue Trump's failing presidency, Kelly will have to deal with many difficult problems, from warring advisers to leaks to an incoherent policymaking process to the presidential Twitter account.
But the most bedeviling challenge he'll face may be dealing with the president's own instincts on the Russia scandal — specifically, his repeatedly expressed desire that Mueller's investigation go away.
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It's clear that Trump would very much like this investigation to disappear, and that he has little respect for niceties about the rule of law that would hold him back. He's already tried to get then-FBI Director James Comey and other officials to "lift the cloud" of the Russia probe. He then fired Comey. He's publicly berated Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself. He's warned Mueller not to investigate his businesses. And he's reportedly musing about firing Mueller.
"Like Nixon, there is little chance that Trump will change in any fundamental way," writes Julian Zelizer, a professor of history at Princeton. "With each of Trump's tweets and bombastic rally statements, Kelly will discover it is increasingly difficult to 'reset' the situation."
But intriguingly, a new CNN story suggests Kelly may not be so eager to play ball. Shimon Prokupecz and Pamela Brown report that after Comey was fired, Kelly called him, expressed his unhappiness with Trump's move, and said he was considering submitting his own resignation in protest.
Kelly may well try to convince Trump not to put the rule of law at risk by going after Mueller — though that could earn him the ire of a president obsessed with loyalty above all else. Alternatively, and more troublingly, he could end up following the chain of command to carry out his boss's evident wishes and try to make the investigation disappear.
We don't yet know which path Kelly will choose. But Trump's own instincts around several different fronts of the Russia scandal — from public disclosures to the fate of Sessions to the fate of Mueller's investigation itself — would prove enormously challenging for any staff to deal with.