A blockbuster report from the New York Times says that President Trump wanted to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but was persuaded against it.
Here’s what the New York Times says:
The report says that Trump ordered Mueller to be fired in June because of conflicts of interest that he believed were undermining the former FBI director’s objectivity.
When Trump told White House counsel Donald F. McGahn to tell the Department of Justice to fire Mueller, McGahn refused, saying that it would cause a political tempest for the White House.
McGahn then said that he would resign rather than to give the order to the Department of Justice. That’s when Trump backed down, according to the report.
Trump also considered firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and replacing him. Rosenstein has been overseeing the Mueller investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself – a move Trump reportedly fumed over.
Why did Trump believe Mueller needed to be fired?
The report says Trump had three reasons to believe Mueller had a conflict of interest:
First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., had prompted Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director at the time, to resign his membership. The president also said Mr. Mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Finally, the president said, Mr. Mueller had been interviewed to return as the F.B.I. director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.
Is this report trustworthy?
Many have doubted the reporting from mainstream news outlets who appear to be biased against Trump and rest on anonymous sources for damaging stories about the administration. One sign that this story might be accurate is that the president’s lawyer, Ty Cobb, declined to comment on the report.
“We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process,” he said in a statement.
Here’s an interview with Maggie Haberman who reported the story: