Trump ordered Mueller's firing but reversed course: Reports

January 26, 2018

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WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump ordered the firing of Russia investigation special prosecutor Robert Mueller last year but the White House counsel's threatened resignation pushed him to reverse course, US media reported Thursday.

Mueller is leading the probe into allegations of collusion between the US president's campaign team and Russia in the 2016 election, which Trump has repeatedly criticized and views as an attack on the legitimacy of his presidency.

Trump gave the order in June 2017, according to The New York Times, but White House counsel Do McGahn opposed the decision, telling senior officials it would have a "catastrophic effect" on Trump's presidency.

After McGahn threatened to quit, Trump backed down, the Times reported, citing four anonymous sources.

The Washington Post, also citing anonymous sources, confirmed that Trump sought to fire Mueller but reconsidered after the White House counsel's threat. "We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process," Trump attorney Ty Cobb told AFP.

The president told journalists in August that he had not considered firing Mueller, some two months after he reportedly had moved to do just that.

"I haven't given it any thought. I mean, I've been reading about it from you people, you say, 'Oh, I'm gonna dismiss him.' No, I'm not dismissing anybody," Trump said.

 

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