In January, the New York Times reported that, in June of 2017, Donald Trump asked his White House Counsel, Don McGahn, to direct the Justice Department to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. McGahn reportedly refused and threatened to resign, so Trump backed off. A month after that episode, Trump told the Times in an interview that Mueller looking into his finances would be a “violation.”
Fast forward to Sunday, two days after FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired, and this tweet:
For some reason, this caused people to think that Trump is trying to fire Mueller again. And so all day long, Republicans tried to talk at Trump through his TV, begging him not to fire Mueller. Sen. Jeff Flake—a man who is maybe running for president in two years—said on CNN that firing Mueller would be a “massive red line that can’t be crossed” (whatever that means), while Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-Benghazi) said on Fox News that John Dowd, Trump’s personal lawyer, was doing Trump a “great disservice” when he told The Daily Beast’s Betsy Woodruff on Saturday that the Mueller probe should be ended.
Apparently, someone at the White House listened. “In response to media speculation and related questions being posed to the Administration,” Trump lawyer Ty Cobb said in a statement, “the White House yet again confirms that the President is not considering or discussing the firing of the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”
How long that will actually last is anyone’s guess. As a dozen people in Trump’s orbit told the Times’ Maggie Haberman on Sunday, Trump is “newly emboldened to say what he really feels and to ignore the cautions of those around him,” which is probably why he’s spent the last week forcing top advisers out and saying the quiet parts loud.
“This could be the manifestation of growing confidence,” Trump buddy Roger Stone told the Times. Alternatively, these things could also be the actions of a man who is finally shedding any remnants of impulse control, and is going down an even more self-destructive path than the one he was already on.
Splinter reached out to the White House to see if Cobb’s statement was released on behalf of the administration or just himself, and will update with any response we receive.