The Slatest

Trump: I Didn’t Fire Mueller Because “That Didn’t Work Out Too Well” For Nixon

President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2019 after golfing at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
President Donald Trump arrives at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 16, 2019 after golfing at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

President Donald Trump insisted several times during the interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that special counsel Robert Mueller absolved him of any wrongdoing. And he says he didn’t fire Mueller in the first place because that didn’t work out so well for another president. “Article II [of the Constitution] allows me to do whatever I want, Article II would’ve allowed me to fire [Mueller],” Trump said. “But I wasn’t going to fire him. You know why? Because I watched Richard Nixon go around firing everybody, and that didn’t work out too well.”

With his statement, Trump was clearly referring to the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon ordered the firing of special prosecutor Archibald Cox. But despite his claims to the contrary, the Mueller report did describe how Trump apparently did try to fire Mueller via then-White House counsel Don McGahn. Regardless, Trump insists he was completely within his rights to fire Mueller if he wanted to. “Article II allows me to do whatever I want,” he said. “Article II would’ve allowed me to fire him.”

When Stephanopoulos asked the president if that means he could “hire and fire anybody, stop or start?” Trump didn’t hesitate. “That is the position of a lot of great lawyers,” Trump responded. “That’s the position of some of the most talented lawyers. And you have to have a position like that because you’re the president. But without even bringing up Article II, which absolutely gives you every right.”

During the interview, Stephanopoulos repeatedly tried to push back on the president’s repeated claims that the Mueller report cleared him of any wrongdoing. But the president was having none of it. At one point, when Stephanopoulos tries to correct the president who had been insisting Mueller ruled there was “no collusion” with Russia, Trump simply got out of the car. When Stephanopoulos asked him why the Mueller report bothers him so much, Trump said that it was “because it’s untrue. I like the truth