NYT: Trump Tried to Fire Robert Mueller Last June

Prensa Internacional/ZUMAPRESS

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Last May, Robert Mueller was appointed special prosecutor after Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Within a month, according to the New York Times, Trump wanted to fire him too:

President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive….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.

This was back in the days when conservatives had just started testing out possible attack lines against Mueller: he’d had a fight over fees with a Trump golf club; he had worked for a firm that represented Jared Kushner; and he was angry at not being chosen to replace Comey at the FBI. Those seem almost quaint now that Mueller is routinely painted as a full-blown Hillary Clinton shill and traitor to his country on Fox News every night.

McGahn was almost certainly correct last June: the blowback from firing Mueller really would have been enormous, possibly even leading to impeachment charges. But maybe not anymore. Republicans have now spent so much time demonizing Mueller and the FBI that Trump might be able to get away with it. He’d certainly have the rock solid support of the entire conservative media establishment, which would immediately go into overdrive explaining that the investigation has been a plot from the very start by the Democratic Party and the Deep State to get rid of a president who’s promised to end their corrupt hegemony over American politics. And there are plenty of members of Congress who’d join right in.

These are bad times. I hope we get through them OK.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend