Transcript for Trump demanded Mueller be fired, but backed off: Report
We'll tell you later and keep you in suspense. We have breaking news, from president trump. He is in Davos, Switzerland this morning denying a blockbuster report from "The New York Times" that last June the president ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller before backing down in the face of resistance from his white house counsel. Our chief white house correspondent Jon Karl starts us off. Good morning, Jon. Reporter: Good morning. The president earlier this week told me he is willing to be interviewed by Robert Mueller and is fully cooperating with his investigation, but "The times" reports he ordered Mueller fired six months ago. In Davos, Switzerland this morning, president trump insisted he did not try to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Fake news, folks. Fake news? What's your -- Reporter: It's quite detailed saying president trump ordered white house counsel don mcgahn to Meyer Mueller and end the investigation one month after he was appointed to the job. As he began ramping up hjs investigation trump lashed out at what he called a witch-hunt telling associates according to "The times" he had conflicts of interest, one that he was at the white house being interviewed by the president about possibly returning as FBI director the day before he was appointed special counsel. The president ultimately backed down from firing Mueller. "The times" reports after white house counsel don mcgahn threatened to resign saying such a move would have a catastrophic effect on Mr. Trump's presidency and would incite more questions about whether the white house was trying to obstruct the Russia investigation. It stands in stark contrast with what he has said. Mr. President, you thought about or considered leading to the dismissal of the special counsel. Anything that Bob Mueller could do that would send you in that direction. I vshts given it any thought. Reporter: Senator mark Warner, the top Democrat on the senate intelligence committee issued a statement saying, quote, firing the special counsel is a red line that the president cannot cross. Although the president backed down from firing Mueller he still harbors doubts about the investigation as he made clear when he spoke with reporters at the white house Wednesday night. Do you think Robert Mueller will be fair to you in this larger investigation? We'll find out. There's no collusion. Now they're saying, oh, well, did he fight back? You fight back, oh, it's obstruction. So, here's the thing, I hope so. Reporter: Interestingly the president's legal team has chosen not to comment on this story whatsoever. The only reaction coming from the white house lawyer Ty Cobb who said, quote, we decline to comment out of respect for the office of the special counsel and its process, George.
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