Trump tried to fire Mueller in December: report
President Trump attempted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in December, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
Trump reportedly tried to fire Mueller after he became enraged over reports that the special counsel had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records on Trump’s finances.
However, Mueller’s team told the White House that the reports were inaccurate and the president backed off from the move, the Times reported. Trump’s lawyers also did not believe the reports to be accurate, because Trump did not keep his money in the bank.
The report comes the same day that the White House said Trump believes he has the power to fire Mueller.
The White House’s remarks came a day after a raid by FBI agents on the office and hotel room of Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney. The Washington Post reported Monday that Cohen is under investigation for possible bank fraud, wire fraud and campaign finance violations.
The Times reported Tuesday that the agents that carried out the raid were seeking documents pertaining to payments made to two women — adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — who have alleged having affairs with Trump years ago.
The episode involving Cohen infuriated Trump, who called the raid a “disgrace” and “an attack on our country in a true sense.” He also reportedly seethed over the fact that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the decision to conduct the raid.
The FBI raid on Cohen’s hotel room and office came after federal prosecutors in Manhattan obtained a search warrant based, in part, on a referral by Mueller.
The threat to fire Mueller in December was not Trump’s first. The Times previously reported that the president sought to have Mueller dismissed last June, but ultimately backed down after White House counsel Don McGahn threatened to resign.
Legal experts say Trump does not have the power to fire the special counsel directly. Under Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations, that authority falls to the department official in charge of the investigation — in this case, Rosenstein.
–Updated at 7:31 p.m.