Report: Trump wanted Mueller fired, backed off

Posted: Updated:

By TOM LOBIANCO
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June, but he backed off the order after White House lawyer Don McGahn threatened to resign, according to a report Thursday in The New York Times.

The newspaper reports that Trump demanded Mueller's firing just weeks after the special counsel was first appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

McGahn said he would not deliver the order to the Justice Department, according to The Times, which cites four people familiar with the request by the president.

Trump argued at the time that Mueller could not be fair because of a dispute over golf club fees that he said Mueller owed at a Trump golf club in Sterling, Va. The president also believed Mueller he had a conflict of interest because he worked for the same law firm that was representing Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, did not immediately return a call for comment Thursday night. Ty Cobb, a White House lawyer working on the response to the Russia probe, declined comment Thursday night.

The response from Democrats was nearly immediate. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that if the report in The Times is true, Trump has crossed a "red line."

"Any attempt to remove the Special Counsel, pardon key witnesses or otherwise interfere in the investigation would be a gross abuse of power, and all members of Congress, from both parties, have a responsibility to our Constitution and to our country to make that clear immediately," Warner said.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Connecticut SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • KTUphoria rocks Jones Beach

    KTUphoria rocks Jones Beach

    Pitbull, the Backstreet Boys and others were at Jones Beach on Saturday, June 16, for KTU's KTUphoria.

    Pitbull, the Backstreet Boys and others were at Jones Beach on Saturday, June 16, for KTU's KTUphoria.

  • Connecticut Birthday Smiles

    Connecticut Birthday Smiles

    Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

    It's a celebration! Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

    It's a celebration! Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

  • 2018 FIFA World Cup Photos

    2018 FIFA World Cup Photos

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

    The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off June 14 in Russia.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."