Donald Trump ordered the firing of Robert Mueller in June, according to The New York Times, but backed down when the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out his order.
Mr Trump is known to have been infuriated by the appointment of Mr Mueller as special counsel, tasked with investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the US election.
He has strenuously denied any Russian interference in the election, and sees the investigation as an attempt to challenge his credibility as elected president.
The New York Times’ report, however, is the first evidence that he attempted to get rid of Mr Mueller – something which is broadly agreed would be a terribly damaging act for the president.
The paper, citing four sources, said that Mr Mueller learned about the episode in recent months as his investigators interviewed current and former senior White House officials in his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.
Mr Trump is reported to have believed that Mr Mueller, a widely respected former head of the FBI, had three conflicts of interest.
First, the paper said, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia, had prompted Mr Mueller, the FBI director at the time, to resign his membership.
Secondly, Mr Trump told associates that Mr Mueller could not be impartial because he had previously worked for a law firm that represented Jared Kushner, his son-in-law.
Thirdly, the president said, Mr Mueller had been interviewed to return as the FBI director the day before he was appointed special counsel in May.
Yet the White House counsel, Donald McGahn, was aghast at the suggestion, and believed that the firing of Mr Mueller would be a catastrophic decision and suggest Mr Trump was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation.
He refused to carry out the president’s order, the paper claimed.
Ty Cobb, the president’s lawyer who manages the White House’s relationship with Mr. Mueller’s office, said in a statement: “We decline to comment out of respect for the Office of the Special Counsel and its process.”
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/26/donald-trump-reportedly-attempted-fire-robert-mueller/