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The allegation in the Mueller Report that has gotten the most media play is President Trump’s supposed attempt to fire Robert Mueller from his position as special counsel. It is commonly said that Trump “tried” to fire Mueller. For example, the Washington Post headlines: “The Trump team still maintains Trump didn’t try to fire Mueller. Mueller disagrees.” The New York Times headlines: “Trump sought to fire Mueller in December.” USA Today: “Donald Trump denies he tried to fire Mueller, disputing account from a former senior White House aide.” But in my view, these characterizations are not supported by what Mueller says Don McGhan told him.
First, as Yoda might say, there is no “try.” President Trump had the legal power to fire Mueller as special counsel. It makes no sense to claim that he “tried” but failed to do so. Trump could have fired Mueller, but he didn’t.
McGhan - Testimony - Mueller - Report - Characterization
Second, McGhan’s testimony, as described in the Mueller Report, does not support that characterization:
On Saturday, June 17, 2017, the President called McGahn and directed him to have the Special Counsel removed. McGahn was at home and the President was at Camp David. In interviews with this Office, McGahn recalled that the President called him at home twice and on both occasions directed him to call Rosenstein and say that Mueller had conflicts that precluded him from serving as Special Counsel.
Call - McGahn - President - Something - Rod
On the first call, McGahn recalled that the President said something like, “You gotta do this. You gotta call Rod.” McGahn said he told the President that he would see what he could do. McGahn was perturbed by the call and did not intend to act on the request.
President - McGahn - Time - Order - Department
When the President called McGahn a second time to follow up on the order to call the Department of Justice, McGahn recalled that the President was...
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