Thursday night, the New York Times published a report alleging that President Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller just weeks after he was appointed to oversee the Russia investigation. He finally backed down, the Times reported, when White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign “rather than carry out the directive.”
“Mr. McGahn disagreed with the president’s case and told senior White House officials that firing Mr. Mueller would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump’s presidency,” the Times reported. “Mr. McGahn also told White House officials that Mr. Trump would not follow through on the dismissal on his own. The president then backed off.”
Even before ordering McGahn to fire him, Trump also reportedly tried to argue that Mueller had multiple conflicts of interest that should preclude him from leading the investigation: First, that Mueller had once resigned membership from a Trump golf course; second, that Mueller once worked for a law firm that had represented Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law; and third, that Mueller interviewed to lead the FBI just one day before the Department of Justice appointed him to lead the Russia investigation.
A lawyer for the White House declined to comment on the Times report, citing an ongoing investigation.