President Trump tried to fire Robert Mueller from his position as special counsel over the Russia investigation barely a month after he was hired, according to multiple anonymous sources close to the matter.

The New York Times reported that Trump ordered Mueller fired last June, only a month after being hired on May 17. White House counsel Donald F. McGahn II, upon receiving Trump’s order, refused to request that the Justice Department fire Mueller, threatening to quit instead. Trump backed down after hearing McGahn’s refusal.

McGahn has been involved in almost every major decision Trump has made since becoming president, including the firing of former F.B.I. Director James Comey, a decision which many saw as an attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation. McGahn felt that the firing of Mueller would have a devastating effect on the Trump administration.

The news of Trump attempting to fire Mueller is not unlike former President Richard Nixon’s firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox, which preceded the sudden departure of key members of his administration. The firing of Cox — known as the Saturday Night Massacre — is largely seen as what ended Nixon’s presidency and prompted his resignation.

A month later, Trump was still keeping his options open on firing Mueller, mentioning that Mueller would be passing a “red line” if the special counsel widened its scope to also investigate his finances. Republican leaders have followed suit with attacking the FBI recently, accusing operatives of political bias after anti-Trump text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were found by Republican chairmen.

Ty Cobb, who coordinates the White House’s relationship with Mueller’s special counsel, said in a statement,

“We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.”

 

Nathan Wellman is a journalist from Los Angeles who has written for US Uncut and Grit Post. Follow him on Twitter: @LIGHTNINGWOW

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