Obstruction? Trump reportedly ordered firing of Russia special counsel Mueller

Trump's attempt to remove Mueller builds stronger case for obstruction of justice

(Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images and Chris Kleponis-Pool/Getty Images)

A bombshell new report from the New York Times in the ongoing Russia investigation revealed that Donald Trump tried to get Special Counsel Robert Mueller fired.

The Times cited four sources speaking under condition of anonymity saying that Trump tried to get rid of Mueller when the news first broke that Mueller would be looking at an obstruction of justice case against him.

Scrambling to find a reason to keep Mueller away, Trump claimed that there were conflicts of interest that made Mueller unsuitable for the investigation.

Because, you know, when you’re under investigation for obstruction of justice, the best move is to obstruct some more.

Conflicts of interest

Trump claimed that Mueller had three conflicts of interest.

Apparently, Mueller resigned his membership from one of Trump’s golf clubs because of a disagreement over fees at the club. So, Mueller couldn’t be impartial, because they had a history of disagreeing.

Then, there was the fact that Mueller used to work at a law firm that had represented Jared Kushner. That particular argument seems to contradict the first, since it implies that Mueller is involved with the family.

And then there was the fact that Mueller had interviewed as a candidate to be the new FBI director the day before he got the special counsel appointment instead. We’re not sure how this is a conflict, unless you count the fact that Trump has recently been referring to the Justice Department and the FBI as the “deep state” and thinks they’re out to get him.

The counsel refuses

But then, according to the Times, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, flat-out refused to fire Mueller.

McGahn said that he would rather quit than fire Mueller and went so far as to tell top officials at the White House that such a move would have catastrophic consequences.

Faced with this opposition, the president then reportedly backed down.

Trump has, of course, denied the report and slammed the Times, telling reporters in Switzerland on Friday, “Fake news, folks. Fake news. A typical New York Times fake story.”

As Mueller continues his probe into the Russian interference with the 2016 election, he may also look at obstruction of justice with relation to Trump’s decision to fire then-FBI Director James Comey.

So, this latest revelation really isn’t helping Trump’s case.