So that….almost happened. Donald Trump supposedly wanted to fire Mueller early last summer but stepped back from the ledge when White House counsel, Donald McGahn threatened to quit if Trump did it.
Here’s the story from The New York Times:
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.
The West Wing confrontation marks the first time Mr. Trump is known to have tried to fire the special counsel. Mr. Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.
Amid the first wave of news media reports that Mr. Mueller was examining a possible obstruction case, the president began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation, two of the people said.
First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., had prompted Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director at the time, to resign his membership. The president also said Mr. Mueller could not be impartial because he had most recently worked for the law firm that previously represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Finally, the president said, Mr. Mueller had been interviewed to return as the F.B.I. director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.
Naturally, Trump’s claims of a conflict are weaksauce. Does anybody really think Robert Mueller would look to get back at Trump over golf club fees? Come on.
What will be interesting is to see the defenses start and people buying into Trump’s excuses for wanting to dump Mueller. They’re already convinced he’s a Democratic stooge, merely taking up for his buddy James Comey.
There’s been nothing to show that Mueller has been anything other than a pro while handling his duties. The story notes Trump ratcheted down the rhetoric on Mueller but who knows how long that will last.
Here’s another question: Will Trump deny this story?