President Donald Trump on Friday denied what he called a “fake news” report by The New York Times that claimed he ordered Robert Mueller’s firing before White House staff threatened to quit, forcing the president to backtrack.
As he entered the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, reporters asked the president about the bombshell report that he wanted to fire the man investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election and whether or not the Trump campaign colluded. Trump replied: “Fake news, folks. Fake news.”
“Typical New York Times,” he added.
Trump’s comments follow a report by the Times published Thursday night that the president, back in June 2017, about a month into Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election, ordered the special counsel to be fired.
White House counsel Don McGahn, who received the president’s order, refused the president’s request, saying he would quit instead, which ultimately led the president to drop the issue altogether, according to the report.
The report also noted Trump moved to fire Mueller after reports emerged the special counsel would be looking into possible obstruction charges against the president.
In the months that followed, Trump’s close advisers tried to calm the president’s nerves surrounding the investigation, often consulting him that the probe would be ending soon.
The president has vehemently denied any collusion with Russia and has continued to argue the entire investigation is turning into a “witch hunt.”
“This is the greatest witch hunt in political history. Sad!” Trump tweeted last year.
The Times report comes just as the president said he was “looking forward” to sitting for an interview with Mueller’s investigative team — even saying he’d do it under oath. “I would love to do [the interview], and I would like to do it as soon as possible,” the president told reporters. “I would do it under oath, absolutely.”
But hours later, Trump’s lawyer walked back his client’s comments, stating the president simply meant he’d meet with the special counsel and that he “spoke hurriedly.”