The president made clear to his outside legal team, which includes Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow, that he didn’t want his lawyers going anywhere—even after the Mueller probe ends. The conversations served as a private admission that federal investigations bedeviling his first term in office will be haunting him for possibly years to come.

The president broached the topic of keeping his team together starting late last year, according to two sources familiar with the exchanges, by discussing other legal woes he might face after the Special Counsel’s Office submits its report to the Department of Justice.

Trump’s focus at the time? The Southern District of New York. The jurisdiction, also known as SDNY, is currently looking into matters involving the president. Those cases have long been considered by Trump’s close allies as a potentially far graver threat than the Mueller investigation.