Washington (CNN)In the end, it may come down to the tweets.
This paragraph, from The New York Times, tells the story:
"The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is scrutinizing tweets and negative statements from the president about Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former FBI director James B. Comey, according to three people briefed on the matter."
Of all the not-normal things about Donald Trump's presidency, his use of Twitter may be the most abnormal. Twitter is Trump's sounding board, his Festivus pole ("I got a lot of problems with you people!"), his soapbox.
Trump has said flatly that without Twitter -- and the ability it gave him to speak without editing to his followers -- he might not have won anything.
"Tweeting is like a typewriter -- when I put it out, you put it immediately on your show," Trump said on the Fox Business Network in October 2017. "When somebody says something about me, I am able to go bing, bing, bing and I take care of it. The other way, I would never be able to get the word out."
In the early days of his presidency, the debate centered on whether Trump's tweets should and/or could be considered official White House statements or positions. "The President is the President of the United States, so they're considered official statements by the President of the United States," clarified then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer in June 2017.
As his time in office progressed, Trump increasingly used his Twitter feed to conduct his own strange sort of diplomacy. "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'nuclear Button is on his desk at all times,'" Trump tweeted in January. "Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"
The constant through all this has been Trump's use of Twitter to complain about the Justice Department investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election -- and all that it entails from former FBI Director James Comey to Sessions and back. Trump has been fixated on labeling the Russia investigation a "witch hunt" or a "hoax" for the entirely of his presidency.
These stats -- via CNN's David Gelles -- about how often Trump has tweeted about the "witch hunt" are startling:
May 2017: 3 times
June 2017: 5 times
July 2017: 6 times
Oct 2017: 1 time
Dec 2017: 2 times
Jan 2018: 1 time
Feb 2018: 3 times
March 2018: 2 times
April 2018: 9 times
May 2018: 20 times
June 2018: 26 times
July 2018: 15 times
The Point: It's not clear whether Trump's Twitter obsession -- and his unwillingness to listen to his advisers when it comes to attacking members of his own Justice Department -- will be his undoing. But we now know the tweets are part of the broader Mueller probe. Which is concerning for Trumpworld.