President Trump reportedly ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in the summer of last year, however, the president changed his mind once McGahn threatened to quit.
According to media reports, Trump ordered the firing of Mueller weeks after he was appointed special counsel by Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. Four people familiar with the matter backed the report.
The president allegedly wanted to relieve Mueller of his position because he had conflicts of interest, specifically because of a dispute over golf club fees that Mueller owed at a Trump gold club in Sterling, Virginia. Trump also argued at the time that Mueller worked for the same law firm that represented the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Mueller’s spokesman, Peter Carr, did not comment on the report and neither did Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer working on the response to the Russia probe. However, the Democrats quickly commented with Senator Mark. R Warner of Virginia at the forefront.
“Any attempt to remove the special counsel, pardon key witnesses or otherwise interfere in the investigation would be a gross abuse of power,” said the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Mueller served for a long time as the director of the FBI with James Comey being his predecessor. According to another media report, president Trump even placed Mueller on the shortlist to replace Comey after his dismissal.
The Russia investigation was still in its early stages at the time of Trump’s dilemma on whether to fire Mueller or not. At the time, Mueller did not call on any major witnesses to testify nor did he issue any charges. Yet that quickly changed a few months later when federal agents would arrest George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign advisor.
This comes just two days after Trump expressed his willingness to testify under oath in the special counsel’s probe. However, a White House official said afterward that the president did not mean he was volunteering to testify.
Image Source: WikipediaCommons