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Trump ordered Mueller fired in June, but forced to back off
The president reportedly sought to justify firing Mueller by arguing he had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from acting as special counsel.
By Delila James
Contributor
Feb 22, 2018

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WASHINGTON D.C. — President Trump ordered the firing of Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller last June, but was forced to back down when White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, threatened to quit over the issue, according to a report by The New York Times.

Mueller, who learned about the confrontation in recent months, is conducting investigations into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 presidential election and possible obstruction of justice by administration officials, including Trump.

The president reportedly sought to justify firing Mueller by arguing he had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from acting as special counsel.

First, Trump claimed that Mueller had resigned his membership at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., because of a dispute over fees. Next, he said Mueller would be biased because he recently had worked for the law firm that represented his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Finally, Trump cited the fact that Mueller had been interviewed for the position of FBI director the day before he was appointed special counsel as a reason for his disqualification.

McGahn, who is not Trump's personal attorney, but rather represents the office of the presidency, reportedly disagreed with Trump's reasons for ordering Mueller's dismissal and told senior administration officials that such a course would invite disaster on the presidency.

Last July, Trump said in an interview with The Times that he was keeping open the option of firing Mueller, warning the special counsel would cross a line if he expanded his probe to investigate Trump's finances.