The Washington Post: In trying to fire Mueller, Trump digs his own legal grave
President Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation, according to four people told of the matter, but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.
The president does back down when confronted. On one hand, McGahn should be commended for standing up to Trump and should set an example for others who may be pressured to carry out illegal or problematic actions. However, as former director of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub tells me, “Before anyone goes canonizing McGahn, let’s pause to recall the media reports about him pressuring Sessions not to recuse and seeking access to FISA warrant information.” It is not clear whether McGahn simply thought the move would be politically disastrous or if he concluded firing Mueller would itself constitute obstruction of justice, a crime. As an aside, “It’s also worth noting that this is not the first leak to paint McGahn in a positive light at Trump’s expense,” says Shaub. “If I were Trump, I’d find myself wondering about McGahn.”