President Trump attempted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is spearheading the federal Russia inquiry, according to a new report.
After Trump gave the order in June 2017, White House counsel Donald McGahn warned of the dire consequences of such a move for Trump and threatened to quit rather than inform the Justice Department of Trump’s decision, sources told the New York Times.
Trump did not press the order any further after McGahn’s warning.
Mueller is leading a team that is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Kremlin during the 2016 election.
Trump reportedly claimed that there were conflicts of interests that prevented Mueller from carrying out his investigation, citing a controversy concerning fees at Trump’s National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., that led to Mueller ending his membership there. The president also took issue with Mueller being previously employed at a firm that represented his son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner.
Dowd refuted that Trump had considered firing Mueller in August. “That’s never been on the table, never,’’ Dowd told USA TODAY. “It’s a manifestation of the media. My dealings with Bob Mueller have always been cordial, respectful — the way it should be.” Trump also said that same month that he had not given “any thought” to firing Mueller.
Additionally, the report said Trump considered removing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who tapped Mueller, and replacing him with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand to oversee the Russia probe.
Trump’s lawyer Ty Cobb and other White House officials have since sought to encourage Trump to not be hostile with Mueller and have assured him for months that the probe is nearly complete.
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