President Donald Trump actually once ordered the firing of Robert Mueller, according to a Thursday report from the New York Times.
But one thing that prevented the political quake from reverberating throughout the national landscape was that White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II threatened to quit if the order was executed.
The presidential decision was reportedly made in June, according to the Times. The report states:
President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.
McGahn was instructed to carry out the alleged presidential decision, but threatened to quit instead, according to the Times:
After receiving the president’s order to fire Mr. Mueller, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead, the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.
The news prompted a wave of reaction:
Would be a disastrous move, unless he is indeed guilty of collusion, in which case it’d be an act of desperation. If he fired Mueller, lot of people who think he’s not guilty of collusion would change their mind. https://t.co/U1Nvb0o1Tj
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) January 26, 2018
Who leaked this? Probably McGahn (perhaps with Cobb).
Why now? Well, its effect will presumably be a negative reaction to firing Mueller. Which may well mean Trump recently returned to the idea, and this is a desperate effort by McGahn to stop him again. https://t.co/a0uGeNwYFQ
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) January 26, 2018
Chris Ruddy in June 2017: "I think he's considering perhaps terminating the special counsel. I think he's weighing that option."
New York Times today: Trump ordered the firing of Mueller last June, but backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) January 26, 2018
Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed the Times report was intended to “change the story.”
“Our sources, they’re not confirming that tonight,” Hannity said.
Sean Hannity: Story on Trump trying to fire Mueller is @nytimes trying to distract from the real story pic.twitter.com/J9tSV4gAmN
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) January 26, 2018
President Trump is currently overseas in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum, and the White House is yet to directly refute the New York Times report.
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