Last night the New York Times broke a story claiming President Trump ordered Special Counsel Robert Mueller be fired in June 2016. The report also alleges White House Counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit unless the order was pulled back.
Friday morning President Trump shot down the report, calling it "fake news."
"Fake news folks, fake news. Typical New York Times fake stories," Trump said in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum.
According to reporting from Fox News' John Roberts, Trump did ask about the option of firing Mueller and whether he had to authority to do so, but did not order it be done. McGahn denies threatening to quit over the conversation.
Fox News is told, however, that Trump did have conversations about firing Mueller – but it might not have amounted to an outright directive.
A source told Fox News that Trump did not tell White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, but did discuss the possibility of doing so during a meeting with McGahn and others.
Trump asked McGahn if he would talk to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who has authority over the special counsel) about it, the source said.
McGahn, though, told the president in no uncertain terms that firing Mueller – the head of the probe into possible collusion by Trump associates with Moscow – would be a horrible idea and blow up in his face, the source said. Trump took McGahn’s advice and dropped active consideration of firing Mueller, though continued to reserve that as an option if Mueller’s Russia investigation took an inappropriate turn, Fox News is told.
Pressure from the Special Counsel has heated up in recent weeks. Nearly two dozen White House staffers have been interviewed by Mueller, in addition to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Mueller is expected to interview President Trump soon, should his attorneys allow it.