Top aides talked Trump out of firing Mueller: report
© Getty

President Trump was considering firing Robert Mueller as special counsel leading the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election but was talked down by top aides, according to a new report.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that Trump was angered by reports that Mueller was close to fired FBI Director James Comey and entertained the idea of firing the special counsel. 

Sources told the Times that staff worked to talk Trump out of firing Mueller, which they believed would have been a disastrous decision for the administration.


According to the report, Trump has told staff, visitors and advisers over the last week that he thought Mueller was part of a "witch hunt" against him. 

On Tuesday night White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters flying with Trump on Air Force One that the president wasn't going to fire Mueller, tamping down such rumors.

“While the president has the right to, he has no intention to do so,” Sanders told reporters flying with Trump back to Washington from a day trip to Wisconsin. 

However, White House sources told the Times that Trump is hard to predict, and they cannot be sure he won't fire Mueller. Others who had spoken with Trump Tuesday said that the president's ambiguity on Mueller was intentional and that the possibility of being fired would help keep Mueller in line.

A longtime friend of Trump, Chris Ruddy, first told PBS Monday that Trump was considering firing Mueller.

“I think he’s considering perhaps terminating the special counsel,” Chris Ruddy told PBS’s Judy Woodruff on “PBS NewsHour." “I think he’s weighing that option.”

— Updated 10:30 p.m.