Trump Derides ‘Fake News Media’ for Reporting He Told White House Counsel to Fire Robert Mueller

Trump Derides ‘Fake News Media’ for Reporting He Told White House Counsel to Fire Robert Mueller

President Trump began Thursday morning as is his wont: sending out raging tweets attacking the Mueller report for one of the more dramatic moments detailed in its pages.

The president was trying to deny a passage in the Mueller report claiming that he ordered former White House counsel Don McGahn to fire the special counsel. This effort came to light as part of Mueller’s report into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice in trying to shut down the entire investigation:

This is true in the narrowest sense. According to the report, Trump called McGahn at home on June 17, 2017, and “directed him to have the Special Counsel removed.” Trump was so wound up that he actually called McGahn twice “and on both occasions directed him to call [Rod] Rosenstein and say that Mueller had conflicts that precluded him from serving as Special Counsel.”

On Twitter, Charlie Savage of The New York Times pointed out that Trump’s assertion he told McGahn to fire Mueller is technically true. He actually ordered McGahn to order Rosenstein to do it:

It has been widely reported that Trump prefers having underlings do his firing for him, so even if he could legally fire Mueller, it is highly unlikely he would have.

But he is narrowly speaking the truth here about not telling McGahn to fire Mueller. Instead, he told McGahn to tell someone else to fire Mueller. It is a distinction without a difference, but his defenders will probably try to pretend otherwise.

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.