A day after reports that President Donald Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller in June of last year — only relenting after his top White House lawyer threatened to resign — reaction to the revelation was muted in the GOP. Trump, making his way back from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland declared the reports “fake news.”
Republicans on the Hlll shrugged, POLITICO’s Elana Schor and Kyle Cheney report. There was zero evidence that the report would inspire them to protect Mueller with fresh legislation.
“There's no rush, Republicans say, because they don't see an ongoing threat by Trump to fire Mueller. Since July, when Trump tapped attorney Ty Cobb to help guide his legal strategy, the famously impulsive president has taken a more conciliatory approach to the probe and has repeatedly expressed a hope and belief that Mueller will treat him fairly.”
Democrats were a lot less relaxed about the reports. Several issued statements promising that firing Mueller would represent some sort of a red line. And they continued to press the case that Mueller should be protected legislatively.
Meanwhile, legal experts are still wondering what Mueller’s endgame is — particularly with Trump. POLITICO Magazine rounds up a range of opinions, but there is one consensus: Mueller has a high bar.
Elsewhere in President Trump’s orbit:
WYNN ALLEGATIONS: Casino mogul Steve Wynn, the Republican National Committee’s finance chairman and a rival-turned-friend of President Trump, was accused of sexual misconduct by employees at his Wynn Resorts empire.
HOLE NEW BALLGAME: President Trump ignored shouted questions about his reference to “shithole” countries during a meeting in Davos, Switzerland with Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president who is also the head of the African Union.
CHUCK IT: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the White House’s immigration framework — a move that is likely to kill the proposal.
GMAN MIGHT WANNA RETHINK IT: FBI scholar Timothy Weiner explains why presidents who go to war with the FBI rarely fair well.
THE ART OF THE DEAL: The Washington Post explores the complexities of setting up an interview between President Trump and special counsel Mueller’s team, including whether it will be under oath and what Mueller wants.
HALE FIRE: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley strongly denied “disgusting” rumors she’s having an affair with President Trump and talked about her role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.
MELANIA MALIGNED?: A spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump hit out at the “laundry list of salacious & flat-out false reporting” about the first lady this week.
JEB JAB: One-time GOP rival Jeb Bush took a swipe at President Trump saying that his strength wasn’t “consistency” when it comes to immigration.
BUCK STOPS: A poll of Ohio voters finds that President Trump’s popularity is fading in Ohio. (Cincinnati.com)
There you have it. You’re caught up on the Trump administration. The government shutdown ended just five days ago. Friday is in the books.