Mueller report: Donald Trump ordered White House counsel Don McGahn to get Mueller fired, and later asked him to lie about it
McGahn, however, refused to follow Trump's orders and instead said that he would rather resign than trigger what he referred to as a potential "Saturday Night Massacre."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report has revealed that President Donald Trump, in June 2017, had asked his former White House Counsel Don McGahn to call acting attorney general Rod Rosenstein and order him to fire Mueller, saying: "Mueller has to go."
McGahn, however, refused to follow Trump's orders and instead said that he would rather resign than trigger what he referred to as a potential "Saturday Night Massacre." The president's suggestion to fire Mueller had come after a string of firing key officials.
The report states that the president told McGahn twice to order Rosenstein to fire Mueller, saying Mueller had “conflicts that precluded him from serving as special counsel”.
The former White House counsel, who left his job in the Trump administration in October 2018, recalled the president telling him: "Call Rod, tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be special counsel.”
“Mueller has to go” and “Call me back when you do it," Trump also added. The incident is detailed on page 85 and 86 of Vol 2 of the Mueller report titled Report on the Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Elections.
After McGahn's refusal, the New York Times reported the incident, prompting the president to ask his White House counsel to put out a statement denying he had been asked to fire Mueller. The report states that McGahn refused again and threatened to quit the administration in protest.
He later then confirmed that the president had ordered him to fire Mueller.
“On January 26, 2018, the President’s personal counsel called McGahn’s attorney and said that the President wanted McGahn to put out a statement denying that he had been asked to fire the Special Counsel and that he had threatened to quit in protest," the report states.
"McGahn’s attorney spoke with McGahn about the request and then called the President’s personal counsel to relay that McGahn would not make a statement. McGahn’s attorney informed the President’s personal counsel that the Times story was accurate in reporting that the President wanted the special counsel removed," it added.
The incident, according to the report, amounts to possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. Mueller did not reach a conclusion to criminally charge the president, however, he stated in the report that his team had found sufficient evidence to not exonerate him.