Indictments? Final report? White House braces for Mueller

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WASHINGTON | The White House is once again preparing for the probe of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to fire up again. Trump’s advisers are privately expressing worries that the special counsel, who has stayed out of the news for the past month, has been stealthily compiling information and could soon issue new indictments or a damning final report.

Protestors gather in front of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, as part of a nationwide “Protect Mueller” campaign demanding that acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker recuse himself from overseeing the ongoing special counsel investigation. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Trump quickly altered the chain of command above Mueller on Wednesday, putting his work under the supervision of a Republican loyalist who has been openly skeptical of the special counsel’s authority and has discussed ways to curtail his power. But Trump and his aides are concerned about Mueller’s next move with the work that is complete, according to a White House official and a Republican with close ties to the administration.

They insisted on anonymity to comment on conversations they were not authorized to describe.

Mueller has stayed quiet for the past month as voters were considering their choices for this week’s elections.

However, a flurry of activity during his quiet period, including weeks of grand jury testimony about Trump confidant Roger Stone and negotiations over an interview with the president, hinted at public developments ahead as investigators draw ever closer to addressing key questions underpinning the special counsel inquiry: Did Trump illegally obstruct the investigation? And did his campaign have advance knowledge of illegally hacked Democratic emails?

Trump has told confidants he remains very annoyed by the 18-month-old Mueller probe, believing it is not just a “witch hunt” but an expensive and lengthy negative distraction. The latest indication of the fury came Wednesday when he forced out his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, whose recusal opened the door to Mueller’s appointment.