In the aftermath of highly publicized errors in recent reporting by CNN and ABC News on the Mueller investigation, Trump has privately told associates how satisfying and “great” it would be to sue journalists—ABC’s Brian Ross in particular for erroneously reporting that Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn reached out to Russian officials during the campaign—whom he believes intentionally spread lies and “fake news” about him and his team, according to two sources close to the president.

Trump has threatened numerous lawsuits against adversarial reporters over the years and has only occasionally followed through. The latest missive struck allies and advisers as a revival of his campaign-trail fantasizing about opening up and weaponizing libel laws and not a genuine statement of intent to do so.