NYT: Trump Wanted To Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller Last June

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Posted: Jan 25, 2018 9:17 PM
NYT: Trump Wanted To Fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller Last June

On Wednesday, President Trump said he was looking forward to sitting down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading up the DOJ’s probe into whether his campaign colluded with the Russians during the 2016 election. Yet, does Mueller know that Trump reportedly wanted him gone last June? The New York Times is reporting that Trump wanted to remove Mueller last June, but backed off when the White House counsel threatened resignation. Controversy erupted from the outset of this probe, as Mueller seemed to have assembled a team of die-hard Democrats, though the publication added that since the White House hired Ty Cobb, the lawyer that manages the relationship between 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and the Mueller probe, the criticism towards the investigation has been reduced significantly. Another idea that was reportedly tossed around was firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and putting Rachel Brand, the third highest-ranking DOJ official, in his place to oversee the Mueller. 

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.

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.

Mr. McGahn disagreed with the president’s case and told senior White House officials that firing Mr. Mueller would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump’s presidency. Mr. McGahn also told White House officials that Mr. Trump would not follow through on the dismissal on his own. The president then backed off.

Ty Cobb, the president’s lawyer who manages the White House’s relationship with Mr. Mueller’s office, said in a statement, “We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.”

[…]

Another option that Mr. Trump considered in discussions with his advisers was dismissing the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, and elevating the department’s No. 3 official, Rachel Brand, to oversee Mr. Mueller. Mr. Rosenstein has overseen the investigation since March, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Mr. Trump has significantly ratcheted back his criticisms of Mr. Mueller since he hired Mr. Cobb in July. A veteran of several high-profile Washington controversies, Mr. Cobb has known Mr. Mueller for decades, dating to their early careers in the Justice Department.

He advised Mr. Trump that he had nothing to gain from combat with Mr. Mueller, a highly respected former prosecutor and F.B.I. director who has subpoena power as special counsel. Since Mr. Cobb’s arrival, the White House has operated on the premise that the quickest way to clear the cloud of suspicion was to cooperate with Mr. Mueller, not to fight him.

Granted, this story comes from anonymous sources. There have been times that the news media has been straight up wrong when it comes to reporting in this White House. Let’s wait and see. What is coming is a rehashing of the neo-McCarthyite hysteria over Russian collusion. Just brace yourselves for it. Like all the others, it too shall pass. Oh, and does anyone really think Trump is going to fire Mueller now?