The New York Times dropped a pretty good bombshell Thursday night, reporting that Donald Trump ordered special counsel Robert Mueller’s firing last June before being talked out of it by White House lawyer Don McGahn. The news has all sorts of implications for the larger Trump-Russia saga and, like, the fate of our 242-year-old experiment in democratic government, but let’s pause for a moment, before getting into all that stuff, to appreciate the funniest part of the Times story:
The president began to argue that Mr. Mueller had three conflicts of interest that disqualified him from overseeing the investigation … First, he claimed that a dispute years ago over fees at Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., had prompted Mr. Mueller, the F.B.I. director at the time, to resign his membership.
Ah, yes … golf disputes, always a hot topic in conflict-of-interest ethics. Making it even better is that this has actually come up before only for Mueller to assert that he did not, in fact, resign from Donald Trump’s dumb country club because of a fee issue. From the Washington Post last July:
A spokesman for Mueller said there was no dispute when Mueller, who was FBI director at the time, left the club.
I would bet $1,000 of Titleist golf balls that what happened was Mueller canceled his membership for normal reasons in a normal way only to have to later complain to American Express or whatever because the Trump Organization kept “accidentally” billing his card every month like one of the companies that sells homeopathic erection pills on late-night television.
Update, 10:55 p.m.: A stunning new development! The Washington Post weighs in with a late-breaking insider account of the alleged golf-money showdown that has transfixed a nation:
The dispute was hardly a dispute at all. According to a person familiar [with the] matter, Mueller had sent a letter requesting a dues refund in accordance with normal club practice and never heard back.
This is basically what I guessed, right?