NYT: Trump Tried to Fire Robert Mueller Last June

Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

Last May, Robert Mueller was appointed special prosecutor after Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Within a month, according to the New York Times, Trump wanted to fire him too:

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….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.

This was back in the days when conservatives had just started testing out possible attack lines against Mueller: he’d had a fight over fees with a Trump golf club; he had worked for a firm that represented Jared Kushner; and he was angry at not being chosen to replace Comey at the FBI. Those seem almost quaint now that Mueller is routinely painted as a full-blown Hillary Clinton shill and traitor to his country on Fox News every night.

McGahn was almost certainly correct last June: the blowback from firing Mueller really would have been enormous, possibly even leading to impeachment charges. But maybe not anymore. Republicans have now spent so much time demonizing Mueller and the FBI that Trump might be able to get away with it. He’d certainly have the rock solid support of the entire conservative media establishment, which would immediately go into overdrive explaining that the investigation has been a plot from the very start by the Democratic Party and the Deep State to get rid of a president who’s promised to end their corrupt hegemony over American politics. And there are plenty of members of Congress who’d join right in.

These are bad times. I hope we get through them OK.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate