President Trump received pushback from several White House aides after they learned that he wanted Special Counsel Robert Mueller fired, several people with knowledge of the discussions told The New York Times. Trump reportedly started considering firing Mueller soon after he was appointed last month.
Mueller is heading the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and Trump was told he would make a bad situation worse; White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn were especially concerned. Trump reportedly believes Mueller isn't impartial because he is friendly with fired FBI Director James Comey, and is part of a "witch hunt" led by people who want him out of office. First lady Melania Trump has also tried to calm Trump down by saying Mueller's appointment will likely lead to him being cleared quickly of any wrongdoing, two people familiar with the conversation told the Times. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has the power to fire Mueller, has said he won't dismiss him without "good cause."
A longtime Trump friend, Christopher Ruddy, publicly floated the idea that Trump is considering "terminating" Mueller's job on Monday, and Trump hasn't personally shot down the rumor. In fact, The New York Times reports, "the president was pleased by the ambiguity of his position on Mr. Mueller, and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration."