To a certain set of federal prosecutors, the visible struggle between Trump and Mueller for the loyalty of former Trump aides is familiar, because it is straight out of the playbook for prosecuting organized crime.

“The decision to cooperate with prosecutors always comes down to loyalty,” said Elie Honig, a former federal prosecutor from the southern district of New York who helped dismantle the Sicilian mafia.

“Who are you going to prioritize?” Honig said. “Are you going to cooperate and minimize your own exposure, and likely minimize the pain, and emotional and financial hardship on your family – or are you going to stay loyal to the people who you committed crimes with?”