- President Donald Trump’s defenders had a collective response to reports that he wanted to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last year: Who cares?
- Trump has denied the reports, but multiple outlets have since confirmed the initial New York Times story.
President Donald Trump’s backers had a collective response to the bombshell news that he sought to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June: Who cares?
In the aftermath of the New York Times report, which said Trump ordered White House general counsel Don McGahn to fire Mueller, Trump’s allies gave a collective shoulder shrug. That report, which was later confirmed by multiple other outlets including The Washington Post and Politico, stated that McGahn did not want to carry out the order and threatened to resign, which caused Trump to pull back. Trump has denied the accuracy of the story.
First up was Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived White House communications director, who told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that the story was “totally irrelevant because he actually didn’t fire Mueller.”
Mueller’s probe into Russian election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials appears to be taking a hardline focus on whether Trump sought to obstruct justice, namely with his firing of FBI Director James Comey in May. Recently, it had been reported that Trump sought for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, also asking the deputy director who he voted for in 2016.
Scaramucci later defended his CNN comments on Twitter.
“My point was that @POTUS should be able to have a private conversation with WH Counsel without the content being leaked to press,” he wrote. “He didn’t fire the special counsel, so the NYT story is irrelevant. Timing of leak is meant to distract from his recent policy wins and @Davos fanfare.”
Then, on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s Thursday night program, the fervent Trump-backer insisted that The Times “is trying to distract you,” adding that Fox News sources were not confirming the accuracy of The Times story.
But moments later, Fox News host Sean Hannity said Fox News sources were confirming the story.
“All right, so we have sources tonight just confirming … that yeah, maybe Donald Trump wanted to fire the special counsel for a conflict,” he said. “Does he not have the right to raise those questions?”
Trump’s favourite morning show, “Fox & Friends,” continued the theme Friday morning. Co-host Ainsley Earhardt offered the defence in her closing remarks on a segment about the story.
“All right, well, the president says that’s fake news, it happened last June, it’s something we have to tell you have about because it’s a headline on The New York Times,” she said. “What do you think about that, do you even care?”
Disgraced former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly joined in on Twitter, criticising the sourcing of The Times story while simultaneously downplaying the content.
“It is not surprising that President Trump considered firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller last June and it is not an accident that The New York Times is reporting the story that is once again, based on anonymous sources,” he wrote.
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