President Trump called recent reports that he tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller “fake news” today. The story was first reported by The New York Times last night. “Fake news, folks, fake news,” President Trump said. “Typical New York Times fake stories.”
The Times reported that the president considered firing Mueller last June, when reports began to circulate that Mueller was looking into whether the president was obstructing justice in the Russia investigation. He ordered White House staff to terminate Mueller, but relented only after White House Counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign in protest.
McGahn, according to the story, felt the effects on Trump’s presidency would be catastrophic if he fired Mueller, and felt that the president wouldn’t go through with it if he had to follow through on it on his own. McGahn has said that the idea of firing Mueller has “never been on the table, never.”
The Times also reported that President Trump considered firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and put the Justice Department’s number three official, Rachel Brand, in charge of the Mueller investigation. It was Rosenstein who originally appointed Mueller in May 2017.