Trump-Russia inquiry: Trump ‘tried to fire Robert Mueller’

UNITED STATES – US President Donald Trump ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller last June, only to back down when his own White House lawyer threatened to resign, claims US media. White House counsel Donald McGahn said the sacking would have a “catastrophic effect” on the presidency, reported the New York Times.

Mr Mueller will be leading an inquiry into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the election. Both Mr Trump and Moscow deny this.

Mr Mueller, a former FBI director, was appointed by the deputy attorney general as special counsel last year. The inquiry will also be looking at whether the president and his inner circle tried to obstruct justice after the firing of FBI director James Comey.

Special Counsel learned of his near-dismissal in recent months, while his team interviewed past and present White House officials. Mr Trump allegedly argued that he had three conflicts of interest that should stop him heading the inquiry, as speculation mounted that Mr Mueller could be building an obstruction case against the president.

Senator Mark Warner, the Democratic vice-chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, warned that “firing the special counsel is a red line that the president cannot cross”.

“Any attempt to remove the Special Counsel, pardon key witnesses, or otherwise interfere in the investigation, would be a gross abuse of power,” said Warner.

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