With Robert Mueller's investigation expanding into criminal probes, White House staffers in the West Wing have been advised by lawyer Donald F. McGahn to hold onto all documents, phone records and emails. According to the Washington Post, there is an atmosphere of legal uncertainty within the West Wing as they prepare for Mueller's investigation to make legal requests. In cases where organizations, individuals, and others have been under criminal investigation, one illegal standard of practice has been for those under investigation to destroy incriminating evidence to avoid getting caught.

West Wing on lock-down

For this reason, McGahn has "specifically" advised staff to avoid "burn bags" where the executive branch generally discards papers. Right before President Trump was to travel to the Middle East and Europe for nine days, Blasting News reported that the White House was beginning to quiet down in light of the Department of Justice (DOJ) naming a special prosecutor, Robert Mueller. At the time, it was acknowledged that the White House would have to start getting their stories straight as their statements appeared to have gotten them into more trouble than they might have expected.

It's already been reported that the investigation is focused on aides closest to the President.

But, McGahn's latest "lock down" demand seems to include lower-level staffers which could also -- whether they believe this to be the case or not -- could be cornering junior staffers who might have gone "rogue" against the President's administration. Only a few months into Trump's presidency, it was reported that Press Secretary Sean Spicer was confiscating mobile devices and trying to make sure staffers weren't sending out messages that leaked White House information.

Leaks and countering negative reporting

While it's unknown as to what lengths the White House has gone to keep leaks down, the leaks of information haven't stopped as the Washington Post and the New York Times have led with stories from sources who wish to remain anonymous. According to the latest report by the Post, some of the staffers are so nervous that they themselves are hiring legal counsel.

It's been said that Mueller's investigation will put great pressure on the White House, especially over those who might be innocent.

At the same time, with the administration trying to control the information that not only comes out of the White House; they've also made an attempt to try and control external information about the White House with the idea that they would by putting a war room together, in order to respond to all reporting over the Trump-Russia investigation. It's been reported, however, that the idea has been scrapped due to internal disagreements. As Sean Spicer has said -- at least for the meantime -- all inquiries about the Russia investigation will be going to Trump's personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz.